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PREFACE

TO THE

DE INTERPRETATIONE NATURÆ

SENTENTIÆ XII.

THE next piece is not properly a fragment, being complete in itself. It is one of the many drafts of that great "speech of preparation" which Bacon turned into so many different shapes before it issued finally in the first book of the Novum Organum. Of the rejected forms this is perhaps the most remarkable for weight, condensation, and comprehensiveness. It was first published by Gruter in 1653, who places it among the Impetus Philosophici; and though the typographical arrangement makes it seem to be connected with the Tradendi Modus legitimus which follows, I think this must have been by accident It exactly answers to its own title, which contains nothing that should lead one to expect a sequel; while on the other hand there is nothing in the Tradendi Modus legitimus which seems to require an introduction.

or error.

Considering it then as a separate piece, there seem to be no data for determining when it was composed; though, judging by the form and style, I am myself inclined to refer it to the period when Bacon thought of throwing the exposition of his argument into a dramatic form; the rather because the allusions to the ordinatæ chartarum sequelæ, the coordinationes, reordinationes, chartæ novellæ, &c. belong to the days of the Filum Labyrinthi, when he was more occupied in perfecting and explaining his method than in taking steps for collecting a natural history,— not having then perceived so fully as I think

he afterwards did, how much of the Labyrinth must be explored before the clue could be obtained or used.

Both this piece and the Aphorismi et Consilia which follow have been printed by M. Bouillet as parts of the Temporis Partus Masculus; which he assumes to be the same work which Bacon says he composed at the age of twenty-four, under the title of Temporis Partus Maximus. My reasons for disagreeing with him on both points have been already stated.'

1 See above, p. 521., and Vol. I. p. 104.

J. S.

DE INTERPRETATIONE NATURÆ

SENTENTIÆ XII.

De conditione hominis.

1. Hoмo, naturæ minister et interpres, tantum facit aut intelligit, quantum de naturæ ordine re vel mente observabit, ipse interim naturæ legibus obsessus.

2. Terminus itaque humanæ potentiæ ac scientiæ in dotibus quibus ipse præditus est a natura ad movendum et percipiendum, tum etiam in statu rerum præsentium. Ultra enim has bases illa instrumenta non proficiunt.

3. Dotes hæ per se tenues et ineptæ, rite tamen et ordine administratæ tantum possunt, ut res a sensu et actu remotissimas judicio et usui coram sistant, majoremque et operum difficultatem et scientiæ obscuritatem superent, quam quis adhuc optare didicerit.

4. Una veritas, una interpretatio: sensus autem obliquus, animus alienus, res importuna, ipsum tamen interpretationis opus magis declinans quam difficile.'

De impedimentis interpretationis.

5. Quisquis dubitationis impos et asserendi avidus principia demum statuet probata (ut credit) concessa et manifesta, ad quorum immotam veritatem cætera ut pugnantia vel obsecundantia recipiet vel rejiciet, is res cum verbis, rationem cum insania, mundum cum fabula commutabit, interpretari non poterit.

6. Qui omnem rerum distinctionem, quæ in constitutis vulgo speciebus vel etiam inditis nominibus elucescit, non miscuerit, confuderit, et in massam redegerit, non unitatem naturæ, non legitimas rerum lineas videbit, non interpretari poterit.

7. Qui primum et ante alia omnia animi motus humani penitus non explorarit, ibique scientiæ meatus et errorum se

1 Compare Cogitata et Visa (supra, p. 617.): Nunc autem apparere viam non aliqua mole aut strue imperviam, sed ab humanis vestigiis deviam esse. — J. S.

3 E

VOL. III.

des, accuratissime descriptas non habuerit, is omnia larvata et veluti incantata reperiet, fascinum ni solverit interpretari non poterit.

8. Qui in rerum obviarum et compositarum causis exquirendis, veluti flammæ, somnii, febris, versabitur, nec se ad naturas simplices conferet; ad istas primo quæ populari ratione tales sunt, deinde etiam ad eas quæ arte ad veriorem simplicitatem reductæ sunt et veluti sublimatæ; is fortasse, si cætera non peccat, addet inventis quædam non spernenda, et inventis proxima. Sed nil contra majores rerum secularitates1 movebit, nec Interpres dicendus erit.

De moribus interpretis.

rans.

9. Qui ad interpretandum accesserit, ita se comparet et componat. Sit nec novitatis, nec consuetudinis vel antiquitatis sectator, nec contradicendi licentiam, nec authoritatis servitutem amplectatur. Non affirmandi sit properus, nec in dubitationem solutus, sed singula gradu quodam probationis insignita provehat. Spes ei laboris, non otii author sit. Res non raritate, difficultate, aut laude, sed veris momentis æstimet. Privata negotia personatus 2 administret, rerum tamen provisus subveneErrorum in veritates et veritatum in errores subingressus prudenter advertat, nihil contemnens aut admirans. Naturæ suæ commoditates norit. Naturæ aliorum morem gerat, cum nemo lapidi impingenti succenseat. Uno veluti oculo rerum naturas, altero humanos usus pererret. Verborum mixtam naturam, et juvamenti et nocumenti inprimis participem, distincte sciat. Artem inveniendi cum invento adolescere statuat. Sit etiam in scientia quam adeptus est nec occultanda nec proferenda vanus, sed ingenuus et prudens, tradatque inventa non ambitiose aut maligne, sed modo primum maxime vivaci et vegeto, id est ad injurias temporis munitissmo, et ad scientiam

Popular opinions, or such as flourish in the sæculum or world, or through ages, sæcula. See Vossius.

2 That is, I apprehend, affecting more interest in them than he feels. Compare Cicero's phrase, "Cur ego personatus ambulem? "- Ep. ad Att. xv. 1. [Rather, I should think, speaking to people in their own language." I cannot say that I clearly understand the sentence; but I think it must refer to the necessity of using popular ideas for popular purposes. Compare Redargutio Philosophiarum (supra, p. 562.): Servate itaque illam alteram (i. e. the popular philosophy), et prout commodum vobis erit adhibete; atque aliter cum natura aliter cum populo negotiamini. Nemo enim est qui plus multo quam alius quis intelligit, quin ad minus intelligentem tanquam personatus sit, ut se eruat, alteri det. I am inclined to think that there should be a full stop after administret, and a comma after subvenerans. J. S.]

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