Imágenes de páginas

22. Will you tell any man's mind before you have conferred with him? So doth Aristotle in raising his axioms upon Nature's mind.

23. Old Lord Keeper Sir Nicholas Bacon had his barber rubbing and combing his head. Because it was very hot1, the window was open to let in a fresh wind. The Lord Keeper fell asleep, and awaked all distempered and in great sweat. Said he to his barber, Why did you let me sleep? Why, my Lord, saith he, I durst not wake your Lordship. Why then, saith my Lord, you have killed me with kindness. So removed into his bed chamber and within a few days died.

24. Four things cause so many rheums in these days, as an old country fellow told my Lord St. Alban. Those were, drinking of beer instead of ale; using glass windows instead of lattice windows; wearing of silk stockings; missing of smoky chimneys.

25. King James and Gondomar were discoursing in Latin. The King spoke somewhat of Tully's Latin. Gondomar spoke very plain stuff. Gondomar laughed. The King asked him, Why he laughed? He answered, Because your Majesty speaks Latin like a scholar, and I speak Latin like a King.

26. Gondomar said, Compliment was too hot for summer, and too cold in winter. He meant it against the French.

27. King Henry the fourth of France having an oration offered him, and the orator beginning "Great Alexander," said the King, Come let's begone.

28. The beggar, that instructed his son, when he saw he would not be handsome, said, You a beggar! I'll make you a ploughman.

29. Marquis Fiatt's first compliment to my Lord St. Albans was, That he reverenced him as he did the angels, whom he read of in books, but never saw.2

"The 4 of February [21 Eliz. i. e. 1578-9]

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

fell such abundance of snow, &c. It snowed till the eight day and freezed till the tenth. Then followed a thaw, with continual rain a long time after. . . The 20 of February deceased Sir Nicholas Bacon." Stowe's Chronicle.

[ocr errors]

... •

2 Bacon being ill and confined to his bed, so that though admitted to his room he could not see him. Compare Rawley's Life of Bacon, Vol. I. p. 16. Tenison (Baconiana, p. 101.) makes Fiatt say, "Your Lordship hath been to me hitherto like the angels, of which I have often heard and read, but never saw them before:" (the words "hitherto and 66 before" being his own interpolation, and entirely spoiling the story;) and proceeds, "To which piece of courtship he returned such answer as became a man in those circumstances, Sir, the charity of others does liken me to an angel, but my own infirmities tell me I am a man ;'" of which reply there is no hint in Rawley, either in the common-place book or in the life: an addition, I suspect, by a later hand.



30. My Lord Chancellor Ellesmere's saying of a man newly married; God send him joy, and some sorrow too, as we say in Cheshire. The same my Lord St. Alban said of the Master of the Rolls.

[ocr errors]

31. My Lord St. Alban said, when Dr. Williams, Dean of Westminster, was made Lord Keeper; I had thought I should have known my successor.

32. My Lord St. Alban having a dog which he loved sick, put him to a woman to keep. The dog died. My Lord met her next day and said, How doth my dog? She answered in a whining tone, and putting her handkerchief to her eye, The dog is well, I hope.

33. The physician that came to my Lord after his recovery, before he was perfectly well. The first time, he told him his pulse was broken-paced; the next time, it tripped; the third day, it jarred a little. My Lord said, he had nothing but good words for his money.

34. Mr. Anthony Bacon chid his man (Prentise) for calling him no sooner. He said, It was very early day. Nay, said Mr. Bacon, the rooks have been up these two hours. He replied, The rooks were but new up: it was some sick rook that could not sleep.

35. [The following is not given in any of these collections, but comes from a letter of Mr. John Chamberlain to Sir Dudley Carleton, 11. Oct. 1617. See Court and Times of James I., ii. p. 38.]

The Queen lately asked the Lord Keeper [Sir F. Bacon], What occasion the Secretary [Sir R. Winwood] had given him to oppose himself so violently against him: who answered prettily, "Madam, I can say no more, but he is proud, and I am proud."



There remain sixteen apophthegms which appear to have been introduced into the collection without any authority, and have no right to be there. But as they are to be found in all editions of Bacon's collected works, and readers may wish to judge for themselves, I add them here; with references to the book from which they were taken. 1


See above, pp. 114, 115, 119.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]




1. SIR Nicholas Bacon being appointed a judge for the northern circuit, and having
brought his trials that came before him to such a pass, as the passing of sentence on
malefactors, he was by one of the malefactors mightily importuned for to save his life;
which, when nothing that he had said did avail, he at length desired his mercy on
account of kindred. 66 Prithee," said my lord judge, "how came that in ?"
if it please you, my lord, your name is Bacon, and mine is Hog, and in all ages Hog
and Bacon have been so near kindred, that they are not to be separated." "Ay, but,"
replied judge Bacon, "you and I cannot be kindred, except you be hanged; for Hog
is not Bacon until it be well hanged."1

2. Two scholars and a countryman travelling upon the road, one night lodged all in one inn, and supped together, where the scholars thought to have put a trick upon the countryman, which was thus: the scholars appointed for supper two pigeons, and a fat capon, which being ready was brought up, and they having sat down, the one scholar took up one pigeon, the other scholar took the other pigeon, thinking thereby that the countryman should have sat still, until that they were ready for the carving of the capon; which he perceiving, took the capon and laid it on his trencher, and thus said, "Daintily contrived, every one a bird."2

3. A man and his wife in bed together, she towards morning pretended herself to be ill at ease, desiring to lie on her husband's side; so the good man, to please her, came over her, making some short stay in his passage over; where she had not long lain, but desired to lie in her old place again: quoth he, "How can it be effected? She answered, "Come over me again." "I had rather," said he, "go a mile and a half about."8

4. A thief being arraigned at the bar for stealing of a mare, in his pleading urged many things in his own behalf, and at last nothing availing, he told the bench, the mare rather stole him, than he the mare; which in brief he thus related: That passing over several grounds about his lawful occasions, he was pursued close by a fierce mastiff dog, and so was forced to save himself by leaping over a hedge, which being of an agile body he effected; and in leaping, a mare standing on the other side of the hedge, leaped upon her back, who running furiously away with him, he could not by any means stop her, until he came to the next town, in which town the owner of the mare lived, and there was he taken, and here arraigned.'

5. A notorious rogue being brought to the bar, and knowing his case to be desperate, instead of pleading, he took to himself the liberty of jesting, and thus said, "I charge you in the king's name, to seize and take away that man (meaning the judge) in the red gown, for I go in danger of my life because of him."5

6. A rough-hewn seaman, being brought before a wise just-ass for some misdemeanor, was by him sent away to prison, and being somewhat refractory after he heard his doom, insomuch as he would not stir a foot from the place where he stood, saying, "it were better to stand where he was than go to a worse place: the justice thereupon, to shew the strength of his learning, took him by the shoulder, and said, "Thou shalt go nogus vogus," instead of nolens volens.

[ocr errors]

7. A debauched seaman being brought before a justice of the peace upon the account of swearing, was by the justice commanded to deposit his fine in that behalf provided, which was two shillings; he thereupon plucking out of his pocket a half crown, asked the justice what was the rate he was to pay for cursing; the justice told him six-pence: quoth he, "Then a pox take you all for a company of knaves and fools, and there's half a crown for you, I will never stand changing of money." 997

[blocks in formation]
[graphic][ocr errors]

8. A witty rogue coming into a lace-shop, said he had occasion for some lace; choice whereof being shewed him, he at last pitched upon one pattern, and asked them, how much they would have for so much as would reach from ear to ear, for so much he had occasion for. They told him, for so much: so some few words passing between them, he at last agreed, and told down his money for it, and began to measure on his own head, thus saying: "One ear is here, and the other is nailed to the pillory in Bristol, and I fear you have not so much of this lace by you at present as will perfect my bargain: therefore this piece of lace shall suffice at present in part of payment, and provide the rest with all expedition."1

9. A woman being suspected by her husband for dishonesty, and being by him at last pressed very hard about it, made him quick answer with many protestations, "that she knew no more of what he said than the man in the moon.' Now the captain of the ship called the Moon, was the very man she so much loved."

[ocr errors]

10. An apprentice of London being brought before the Chamberlain by his master for the sin of incontinency, even with his own mistress, the Chamberlain thereupon gave him many christian exhortations; and at last he mentioned and pressed the chastity of Joseph, when his mistress tempted him with the like crime of incontinency. "Ay, Sir," said the apprentice; "but if Joseph's mistress had been as handsome as mine is, he could not have forborne." ""3

11. A company of scholars going together to catch conies, carried one scholar with them, which had not much more wit than he was born with; and to him they gave in charge, that if he saw any, he should be silent, for fear of scaring them. But he no sooner espied a company of rabbits before the rest, but he cried aloud, Ecce multi cuniculi, which in English signifies, "Behold many conies; " which he had no sooner said, but the conies ran to their burrows: and he being checked by them for it, answered, "Who the devil would have thought that the rabbits understood Latin ?

[ocr errors]

12. A man being very jealous of his wife, insomuch that which way soever she went, he would be prying at her heels; and she being so grieved thereat, in plain terms told him, "that if he did not for the future leave off his proceedings in that nature, she would graft such a pair of horns upon his head, that should hinder him from coming out of any door in the house."5

13. A citizen of London passing the streets very hastily, came at last where some stop was made by carts; and some gentlemen talking together, who knew him; where being in some passion that he could not suddenly pass, one of them in this wise spoke unto him: "That others had passed by, and there was room enough, only they could not tell whether their horns were so wide as his." "16

14. A tinker passing Cheapside with his usual tone, "Have you any work for a tinker? an apprentice standing at a door opposite to a pillory there set up, called the tinker, with an intent to put a jest upon him, and told him, "that he should do very well if he would stop those two holes in the pillory; " to which the tinker answered, "that if he would but put in his head and ears a while in that pillory, he would bestow both brass and nails upon him to hold him in, and give him his labour into the bargain.""

15. A young maid having married an old man, was observed on the day of marriage to be somewhat moody, as if she had eaten a dish of chums, which one of her bridemen observing, bid her be cheery; and told her moreover, "that an old horse would hold out as long, and as well as a young, in travel." To which she answered, stroking down her belly with her hand, "But not in this road, Sir."


16. A nobleman of this nation, famously known for his mad tricks, on a time having taken physic, which he perceiving that it began well to work, called up his man to go for a surgeon presently, and to bring his instruments with him. The surgeon

comes in all speed; to whom my Lord related, that he found himself much addicted to women, and therefore it was his will that the cause of it might be taken away, and therefore commanded him forthwith to prepare his instruments ready for to geld him; so the surgeon forthwith prepares accordingly; and my Lord told him that he would not see it done, and that therefore he should do his work the back way; so both parties being contented, my L. makes ready, and when he perceives the surgeon very near him, he lets fly full in his face: which made the surgeon step back; but coming presently on again, "Hold, hold (saith my Lord) I will better consider of it: for I see the retentive faculty is very weak at the approach of such keen instruments."

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]




« AnteriorContinuar »