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curious stories Bacon adds from his own experience, and he also mentions two remarkable cases of instinctive divination. Of these the first is the story told in the life of Angelo Caltho, prefixed to some editions of Comines's Memoirs, namely that he announced the death of Charles the Bold at the
time at which it took place: the other is mentioned in Catena's Life of Pius V.,—that he knew of the victory at Lepanto as soon as it was won. For the first story Bacon refers to Comines, who says nothing about it, and whose silence is all but conclusive against its truth '; for the second he gives no authority, but there is no doubt but that he derived it from Catena, with whose book he was in all probability acquainted, as what he says of Pius V. in the beginning of the Advancement of Learning is taken from it.
Porta’s Natural Magic supplied Bacon with almost all he says of the changes which may be produced in fruits and other vegetable products by peculiar modes of cultivation. In some of the paragraphs taken from Porta he refers to “one of the ancients,” the reason of which is that almost all Porta's statements are supported by reference to a Greek or Latin author. If we did not know the channel through which his information is derived, we might give him credit for much curious research. Thus in (458) he observes that it is reported by one of the ancients that artichokes will be less prickly if their tops have been grated off upon a stone. The writer referred to is Varro, but the statement is only preserved in the Geoponica ; it does not occur in any part of his works now extant. As the Geoponica are certainly not often read or even quoted, it would have been interesting to know that Bacon was acquainted with them. Unfortunately, on looking into the Natural Magic, we find that Bacon was in this case simply a transcriber.
The statements taken from Aristotle's Problems relate, like the problems themselves, to a great variety of subjects. Bacon does not adopt Aristotle's solutions, at least not generally, but after stating affirmatively the fact of which Aristotle inquires
"The misfortunes of the Duke of Burgundy are recorded in four curious lines, written apparently by a contemporary. They are manifestly corrupt, but may perhaps be thus restored :
Nix Burgundo nocuit
KELLER's Romvart, p. 157.
the cause, he gives his own explanation of it, often introducing it by the formula," the reason is, &c.,” which is, I think, not employed except in paragraphs taken from or suggested by something in the Problems. The paragraphs from (837) to (846) are evidently the result of Bacon's having been reading the fourth book of the Meteorologics, but they consist less of statements of facts than of speculations relating to familiarly known phenomena.
Pliny's Natural History supplied Bacon with many remarks on agriculture and kindred subjects.
The description of the chameleon in (360) is clearly taken from Scaliger's Exercitationes adversus Cardanum, and in another paragraph (694) he mentions Scaliger by name, and approves of something which is said in the same work. Scaliger and Comines are, I think, the only two modern writers mentioned in the Sylva Sylvarum.
In the paragraphs of the second century, which relate to music, Bacon refers to the controversy as to whether the interval of the fourth ought to be considered a harmony. There are a number of books by which this question may have been suggested to him, but it is impossible to know which of them he had read. His opinion in favour of the fourth is quoted witla great approbation by [Charles Butler, of Magdalen College, Oxford, in his Principles of Music (1636). See note on Exp. 107.]
In concluding these desultory remarks it may be well to observe that the name Sylva Sylvarum seems to be a Hebraism for optima sylva'; sylva being used as őrn in Greek for the materials out of which anything is to be constructed. The name therefore accords with Bacon’s notion of natural history ; namely that it ought to supply the materials with which the new philosophy is to be built up.
i I should rather take it to mean a collection of collections; that is, a variety of Sylvæ (or collections of facts relating to particular subjects) gathered together. Almost all the experiments concerning sound, which extend from 100 to 290, are to be found in a Latin fragment which has Sylva Soni ct Auditus for one of its titles. That is one of the Sylvæ of which this Sylva Sylvarum is made up. — J. S.
A NATURAL HISTORY.
IN TEN CENTURIES.
WRITTEN BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
FRANCIS LORD VERULAM, VISCOUNT ST. ALBAN.
PUBLISHED AFTER THE AUTHOR'S DEATA
WILLIAM RAWLEY, DOCTOR OF DIVINITY,
LATE HIS LORDShir's CHAPLAIN.
LONDON: Printed by J. H. for William Lee at the Turk's Head in Fleet Street,
next to the Mitre.