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As for what is said that Roger Bacon had, like his namesake, asserted the necessity of observation and experiment, we need not look so far back to find writers of whom we may suppose that in this respect Francis Bacon was the disciple. Nor is it likely that Bacon studied an author, almost all whose works were still in manuscript, and who apparently belonged to a class of writers whom he held in very little respect. But of Roger Bacon's tract De Mirabil. Potest. Artis et Nature, an English translation was published in 1618, from a copy in the possession of the occult philosopher Dr. Dee. In this we find one or two stories which are repeated in the Historia Vitæ et Mortis, but which Bacon however disbelieves, and not without
That of the Lady of Formerey is clearly a legendary tale ;-how she was seeking a white doe, and how she met with a a forest ranger, who had renewed his youth by anointing himself with an ointment which he had found somewhere within the verge of the forest. Roger Bacon's treatise De Retard. Senect. Accidentibus was published in English in 1683. I do not find any reason for supposing that Bacon was acquainted with it. It contains one mystical chapter touching an occult method for the recovery of youth which the translator supposes, and perhaps rightly, to relate to a practice in support of which a passage of the Old Testament has been often quoted. A celebrated book was written in the middle of the last century on the same subject, or on something akin to it. But it has unfortunately not been found possible by any embrace to hinder the flight of youth, or to recall it when it has fled.
Ter frustra comprensa manus effugit imago,
Par levibus ventis nigroque simillima somno. Bacon alludes briefly to the same idle fancy, and refers in doing so to Marsilius Ficinus, from whose treatise De Vitâ producendâ he has taken one or two remarks. With the Theognosta of Cardan he was apparently not acquainted. The second book of it treats of the prolongation of life, and Bacon would probably have quoted from it the reply of a kinsman of
She is called the Lady of the Wood in Dee's version, and in the original text published in the Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa, Domina de Nemore. But in the edition published in Paris in 1542, and in an extract in the Theatrum Chemicum, her title is Domina de Formerey, from which the other reading may easily have been corrupted.
2 “ Hermippus Redivivus,” by Cohausen. The title is taken from an apocryphal inscription commemorating the death of one Hermippus at the age of 115, and recording the means whereby he was enabled to live so long.
Cardan's who affirmed that his long life was owing to his never being out of doors before sunrise or after sunset. The rule is at least as good as that of the old man whom Bacon quotes, who always ate before he was hungry, and drank before he was thirsty. Another of these oracular sayings, —“Oil without, honey within,"—which Bacon ascribes to the mythical Johannes de Temporibus, seems to be more justly due to Democritus, to whom it is attributed in the Geoponica. That of Pollio Romilius is much to the same purpose—“ Intus mulso, foris oleo.”
Pliny and Aristotle are Bacon's principal authorities for what is said of the ages of different kinds of animals. From this part of the subject Bacon draws some inferences which are not perhaps without value. The whole treatise concludes with thirty-two “ Canones
o Mobiles,” or provisionally affirmed results. They contain the sum of his theory, of which the passage I have quoted from Haller seems to give an adequate idea.
BARONIS DE VERVLAMIO,
VICE-COMITIS SANCTI ALBANI,
HISTORIA VITÆ ET MORTIS.
IN HISTORIA NATURALI ET EXPERIMENTALI
AD CONDENDAM PHILOSOPHIAM :
QUÆ EST INSTAURATIONIS MAGNÆ PARS TERTIA.
IN OFFICINA 10. HAVILAND, IMPENSIS MATTHÆI LOWNER.