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dedly than he had done four years before when he published the Advancement of Learning. And I have little doubt that when he wrote the New Atlantis he thought it not improbable that the state of navigation in the world 3000 years before was really such as the Governor of the House of Strangers describes; that some such naval expeditions as those of Coya and Tyrambel may really have taken place; and that the early civilisation of the Great Atlantis may really have been drowned by a deluge and left to begin its career again from a state of mere barbarism.
Among the few works of fiction which Bacon attempted, the New Atlantis is much the most considerable; which gives an additional interest to it, and makes one the more regret that it was not finished according to the original design. Had it proceeded to the end in a manner worthy of the beginning, it would have stood, as a work of art, among the most perfect compositions of its kind.
The notes to this piece, which are not marked with Mr. Ellis's initials, are mine.
A WORK UNFINISHED.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
FRANCIS LORD VERULAM, VISCOUNT ST. ALBAN.
TO THE READER.
THIS fable my Lord devised, to the end that he might exhibit therein a model or description of a college instituted for the interpreting of nature and the producing of great and marvellous works for the benefit of men, under the name of Salomon's House, or the College of the Six Days' Works. And even so far his Lordship hath proceeded, as to finish that part. Certainly the model is more vast and high than can possibly be imitated in all things; notwithstanding most things therein are within men's power to effect. His Lordship thought also in this present fable to have composed a frame of Laws, or of the best state or mould of a commonwealth; but foreseeing it would be a long work, his desire of collecting the Natural History diverted him, which he preferred many degrees before it.
This work of the New Atlantis (as much as concerneth the English edition) his Lordship designed for this place2; in regard it hath so near affinity (in one part of it) with the preceding Natural History.
In the Latin translation Rawley adds, aliarumque Instaurationis partium contexendarum; alluding probably to the De Augmentis, the only portion of the Instauration, not belonging to the Natural History, which he seems to have been employed upon afterwards.
2 It was published at the end of the volume containing the Sylva Sylvarum. The titlepage bears no date.