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speculations, were like the Olympic gamesters, who abstained from necessary labours, that they might be fit for such as were not so.
21. He likewise often used this comparison ; The Empirical philosophers are like to pismires; they only lay up and use their store. The Rationalists are like to spiders ; they spin all out of their own bowels. But give me a philosopher, who like the bee, hath a middle faculty, gathering from abroad, but digesting that which is gathered by his own virtue.
22. The Lord St. Alban, who was not over hasty to raise theories, but proceeded slowly by experiments, was wont to say to some philosophers who would not go his pace, Gentlemen, Nature is a labyrinth, in which
23. The same Lord, when he spoke of the Dutchmen, used to say, That we could not abandon them for our safety, nor keep them for our profit. And sometimes he would express the same sense on this manner; We hold the Belgic lion by the ears.1
24. Sir Francis Bacon said upon occasion (meaning it of his old retinew) That he was all of one piece : his head could not rise but his tail must rise too.2
My Lo. St. Albans was wont to say that it was our greatest unhappiness, that we could not abandon those for our safety who were the greatest enemies to our profit. - Lamb. MS. p. 85.
2 So Lamb. MS. p. 5. In the Baconiana it is given thus: “ The same Lord when 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 is utterly incredible.
25. The Lord Bacon was wont to commend the advice of the plain old man at Buxton, that sold be
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.)
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 yold.
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
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.
2 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.
SELECTED FROM A COMMON-PLACE BOOK IN THE HAND-WRIT
ING OF DR. RAWLEY, PRESERVED AT LAMBETH.
MSS. No. 1034.1
[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 See above, p. 322.
1. Apophthegms. My Lo.:' 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. Bacon 2 went towards Finchley to take the 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
1 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
e; 3=i; 4=0; 5=u; 6=y. 2 In the MS. this follows the story of Bacon and the fishermen at Chelsea. Rawley's Collection, No. 36.
8 Bishop Aylmer, probably; who died in 1594. See Nichols's Progr. Eliz. iii. p. 369.
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.l
5. My Lord Chancellor told the King, that if he bestowed 70001. 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 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 2 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.
1 This sounds to me very like a note of Bacon's; though his name is not mentioned.
2 The Lord Treasurer's staff.