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25. 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 borrow of thy belly; they'll ne'er ask thee again, I shall be dunning thee every day.1
26. Solon said well to Croesus, (when in ostentation he shewed him his gold) Sir, if any other come that has better iron than you, he will be master of all this gold.
27. 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.2
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 up, the inferior parts of the body must too." It will be observed that Rawley's notes of these apophthegms are in almost every case better than Dr. Tenison's version, by whom they have evidently been dressed for company. In this case I thought the improved version too bad, and made the note and the text change places. That such an alteration could have been sanctioned by Bacon
1 The old man at Buxton that answered him that would have been trusted for brooms: Hast thou no money? borrow of thy back and borrow of thy belly: they'll ne'er ask thee again: I shall be ever asking thee.-Lamb. MS. 5.
* Jack Weeks said of the Bishop of London, Montagu; I hope he is in heaven. Every man thinks as he wisheth; but if he be there 'twere pity it were known.Lamb. MS. p. 55.
SOME ADDITIONAL APOPHTHEGMS
SELECTED FROM A COMMON-PLACE BOOK IN THE HAND-WRITING OF
MSS. No. 1034.'
[THE manuscript from which the following apophthegms are selected bears no date or title. But the contents show that it was a common-place book in which Dr. Rawley entered memoranda from time to time; and a few dates occur incidentally; the earliest of which is 8 September 1626, (five months after Bacon's death,) and the latest is 25 May 1644. The memoranda are of various kinds, many of them relating to Bacon and his works, many to Dr. Rawley's private affairs. Among them are a number of anecdotes, some very good, but not stated to be derived from Bacon or otherwise connected with him, and therefore not noticed here. It is true that several of the apophthegms printed by Tenison in the Baconiana are set down in this manuscript without any hint that Bacon had anything to do with them. It is possible therefore that they too may have been of Dr. Rawley's own selection; who seems to have had a taste for good stories, and seldom spoiled them. But judging by the style, I think it more probable that most of them were copied from Bacon's own notes.]
1. Apophthegms. My Lo.2: I was the justest judge that was in England these 50 yeares: But it was the justest censure in Parliament that was these 200 yeares.
2. The same Mr. Bacon3 went towards Finchley to take the
1 See above, p. 119.
2 That is, "my Lord St. Alban said of himself." This is the first entry in the book, and is set down in a kind of cipher; the consonants being written in Greek characters, and the six vowels represented by the six numerals; 1 = a; 2 = e; 3=1; 4 = 0; 5=u; 6 = y.
In the MS. this follows the story of Bacon and the fishermen at Chelsea. Rawley's Collection, No. 36.
air. There had been growing not long before a pretty shady wood. It was then missing: Said Mr. Bacon, Stay, I've not lost my thoughts in a wood, but methinks I miss a wood here. Saith a country fellow, It is newly cut down. Said Mr. Bacon, Sure he was but a churl that ought it, to cut down a wood of great pleasure and to reap but small profit into his purse. Said the fellow, It was the Bishop of London.' Then answered Mr. Bacon, Oh, was it he: he's a learned man: it seems this was an obscure place before, and the Bishop hath expounded the text.
3. A flattering courtier undertook to make a comparison betwixt my Lord St. Alban and Treasurer Cranfield. Said he, My Lord St. Alban had a pretty turning wit, and could speak well: but he wanted that profound judgment and solidity of a statesman that my Lord of Middlesex hath. Said a courtier that stood by: Sir I wonder you will disparage your judgment so much as to offer to make any parallel betwixt these two. I'll tell you what: when these two men shall be recorded in our chronicles to after ages, men will wonder how my Lord St. Alban could fall; and they will wonder how my Lord of Middlesex could rise.
4. There was one would say of one that he thought every man fit for every place.2
5. My Lord Chancellor told the King, that if he bestowed 70007. upon Paul's steeple, he could not lay out his money where it should be more seen.
6. When they sat in commission about reedifying Paul's steeple, some of the rich aldermen being there, it was motioned to build a new spire upon it. A rich alderman answered; My Lords, you speak of too much cost: Paul's is old: I think a good cap would do well. My Lord Chancellor, who was for the spire, answered: Mr. Alderman, you that are citizens are for the cap; but we that are courtiers are for the hat and feather.
7. [There was] an old woman whom the minister asked, How many commandments there were. She answered, it was above her learning: she was never taught it. Saith the minister, there are ten. Good Lord (said the old woman) a goodly
1 Bishop Aylmer, probably; who died in 1594. See Nichols's Progr. Eliz. iii. p. 369. ? This sounds to me very like a note of Bacon's; though his name is not mentioned.
company. He told them her particularly, and then asked her if she had kept them all? Kept them? (said she :) alas master, I am a poor woman: I have much ado to keep myself.
8. Sir Harry Mountague came to my Lord Chancellor before he went to the court to Newmarket, and told him; My Lord, I come to do my service to your Lordship: I am even going to Newmarket and I hope to bring the staff' with me when I come back. My Lord (said my Lord Chancellor) take heed what you do: I can tell you wood is dearest at Newmarket of any place in England.
9. When the said Lord lost his Treasurer's place, he came to my Lord St. Alban, and told him how they had used him; that though they had taken away the Lord Treasurer's place, yet they had made him Lord President of the Counsel: Why, saith my Lord St. Alban, the King hath made me an example and you a president."
10. When Sergeant Heale who is known to be good in giving in evidence, but otherwise unlearned in the law, was made the Queen's sergeant, Mr. Bacon said; The Queen should have a sergeant de facto et non de jure.
11. At the King's Bench bar, Sergeant Heale, before he was the Queen's sergeant, contended with Mr. Bacon to be first heard; and said, Why I am your ancient: Mr. Bacon gently answered, Not in this place; for I staid here long, and you are come but right now.
12. There was a tall gentleman and a low gentleman were saying they would go to the Shrive's to dinner; Go, saith the one, and I will be your shadow. Nay, saith the other, I will be your shadow. Mr. Bacon standing by said, I'll tell you what you shall do: Go to dinner and supper both; and at dinner when [the shadows are] shorter than the bodies, you shall be the shadow; and at supper you shall be the other's shadow.3 13. He thought Moses was the greatest sinner that was, for he never knew any break both tables at once but he.1
1 The Lord Treasurer's staff.
So precedent was usually spelt in those days.
So the MS. It should be "the other shall be your shadow."
But the thing is better told in a common-place book of Bacon's own (Harl. MSS. 7017.). "The two that went to a feast both at dinner and supper, neither known, the one a tall, the other a short man; and said they would be one another's shadows. It was replied, it fell out fit: for at noon the short man might be the long man's shadow and at night the contrary."
This is written in cipher.
14. He said he had feeding swans and breeding swans; but for malice, he thanked God, he neither fed it nor bred it.1
15. At the Parliament, when King James spied Mr. Gorge, one of my Lord Chancellor's men, who was somewhat fantastical, and stood by there with one rose white and another black; the King called my Lord unto him, and said easily in his ear; My Lord Chancellor, why does your man yonder wear one rose white and another black? My Lord answered; In truth, Sir, I know not, unless it be that his mistress loyes a colt with one white foot.
16. Sir Walter Coape and Sir Francis Bacon were competitors for the Mastership of the Wards. Sir Francis Bacon certainly expecting the place had put most of his men into new cloaks. Afterward when Sir Walter Coape carried the place, one said merrily that Sir Walter was Master of the Wards, and Sir Francis Bacon of the Liveries.
17. My Lord St. Alban said, that wise nature did never put her precious jewels into a garret four stories high: and therefore that exceeding tall men had ever very empty heads." 18. My Lord St. Alban invited Sir Ed. Skory to go with him to dinner to a Lord Mayor's feast. My Lord sate still and picked a little upon one dish only. After they returned to York-house, my Lord wished him to stay and sup with him: and told him he should be witness of the large supper he would make: telling him withal: Faith, if I should sup for a wager, I would dine with a Lord Mayor.
19. Sir Robert Hitcham said, He cared not though men laughed at him: he would laugh at them again. My Lord St. Alban answered, If he did so he would be the merriest man in England.
20. My Lord St. Alban would never say of a Bishop the Lord that spake last, but the Prelate that spake last. King James chid him for it, and said he would have him know that the Bishops were not only Pares, as the other Lords were, but Prælati paribus.3
21. He was a wise man 4 that gave the reason why a man doth not confess his faults. It is, Quia etiam nunc in illis est.
This saying is alluded to by Rawley in his Life of Bacon.
? I have seen this quoted somewhere as Bacon's answer to King James when pressed for his opinion as to the capacity of a French ambassador who was very tall.
3 This I think must be misreported. It must have been Bacon who defended himself on this ground for preferring "Prelate " to "Peer: " for so Prelate would imply Peer, whereas Peer would not imply Prelate.
Seneca, Ep. 53.