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certainly much more do they deserve it, who instead of wandering in the forests of nature, make their way through the labyrinths of arts.
Another defect to be noticed (and one of great importance) is a neglect of consultation in governors of universities, and of visitation in princes or superior persons, to enter into careful account and consideration whether the readings, disputations, and other scholastic exercises anciently begun, and since continued up to our time, may be profitably kept up, or whether we should rather abolish them and substitute better. For I find it is one of your Majesty's most wise maxims; "That in all usages or precedents the times be considered wherein they first began; which, if they were disordered or ignorant, it derogates greatly from the authority of the precedents, and leaves all things for suspect." And therefore inasmuch as most of the institutions of the universities are derived from times a good deal more obscure and ignorant than our own, it is the more convenient that they be re-examined. In this kind I will give an instance or two, of things which appear the most obvious and familiar. It is a general custom (and yet I hold it to be an error) that scholars come too soon and too unripe to the study of logic and rhetoric, arts fitter for graduates than children and novices; for these two rightly taken are the gravest of sciences, being the arts of arts, the one for judgment, the other for ornament; besides they give the rule and direction how both to set forth and illustrate the subject matter. And therefore for minds empty and ignorant (and which have not yet gathered what Cicero calls "stuff" or "furniture," that is matter and variety) to begin with those arts (as if one should learn to weigh or to measure or to paint the wind), works but this effect, that the virtue and faculty of those arts (which are great and universal) are almost made contemptible, and either degenerate into childish sophistry and ridiculous affectation, or at least lose not a little of their reputation. And further, the premature and untimely learning of these arts has drawn on, by consequence, the superficial and unprofitable teaching and handling of them, — a manner of teaching suited to the capacity of children. Another instance of an error which has long prevailed in universities is this; that 2 Supellex. Orator, c. 24.
1 Sylva. De Orator. iii. 26.
they make too great and mischievous a divorce between invention and memory. For most of the speeches there are either entirely premeditate, and delivered in preconceived words, where nothing is left to invention; or merely extempore, where little is left to memory; whereas in common life and action there is little use of either of these separately, but rather of intermixtures of them; that is of notes or commentaries and extempore speech; and thus the exercise fits not the practice, nor the image the life. But it must ever be observed as a rule in exercises, that they be made to represent in everything (as near as may be) the real actions of life; for otherwise they will pervert the motions and faculties of the mind, and not prepare them. The truth whereof appears clearly enough when scholars come to the practice of their professions, or other offices of civil life; which when they set into, this want I speak of is soon found out by themselves, but still sooner by others. But this part, touching the amendment of the Institutions and Orders of Universities, I will conclude with a sentence taken from one of Cæsar's letters to Oppius and Balbus; "How this may be done, some means occur to me, and many may be found; I beg you therefore to take these matters into consideration." 1
Another defect which I note ascends a little higher than the preceding. For as the progress of learning consists not a little in the wise ordering and institutions of each several university; so it would be yet much more advanced if there were a closer connexion and relationship between all the different universities of Europe than now there is. For we see there are many orders and societies which, though they be divided under distant sovereignties and territories, yet enter into and maintain among themselves a kind of contract and fraternity, insomuch that they have governors (both provincial and general) whom they all obey. And surely as nature creates brotherhood in families, and arts mechanical contract brotherhoods in societies, and the anointment of God superinduces a brotherhood in kings and bishops, and vows and regulations make a brotherhood in religious orders; so in like manner there cannot but be a noble and generous brotherhood contracted among men by learning and illumination, seeing that God himself is called "the Father of Lights." "
'Cic. Ep. ad Att. ix. 8.
2 St. James, i. 17.
The last defect I complain of (to which I have already alluded) is that there has not been, or very rarely been, any public designation of fit men either to write or to make inquiry concerning such parts of knowledge as have not been already sufficiently laboured. To which point it will greatly conduce, if a review and census be made of the sciences, and account be taken what parts of them are rich and well advanced, and what poor and destitute. For the opinion of plenty is amongst the causes of want; and the great quantity of books makes a show rather of superfluity than lack; of which surcharge nevertheless the true remedy is not to destroy the old books, but to make more good ones; of such a kind that like the serpent of Moses, they may devour the serpents of the enchanters.1
The removal of all the defects formerly enumerated, except the last, and of the active part also of the last, which relates to the designation of writers, are truly works for a king; towards which the endeavours and industry of a private man can be but as an image in a crossway, that may point at the way but cannot go it. But the speculative part of it, which relates to the survey of knowledges to see what in each is deficient, is open likewise to private industry. Wherefore I now intend to make a general and faithful perambulation and survey of learning, with a very careful and accurate inquiry what parts thereof lie fresh and waste, and not yet improved and converted to use by the industry of man; to the end that such a plot marked out, and recorded to memory, may minister light both to public designations and voluntary endeavours. Wherein nevertheless my purpose is at this time to note only omissions and deficiencies, and not to make any redargution of errors and failures; for it is one thing to point out what parts lie untilled, and another thing to mend the manner of tillage.
In addressing myself to which task I am not ignorant how great a work I attempt, and how difficult a province I take upon me; nor again how far unequal my strength is to my will. Nevertheless I have great hope that if my extreme love to learning carry me too far, I may obtain the excuse of affection; for that "it is not granted to any man at the same time to love and to be wise." 2 But I know well I can use no other liberty of judgment, than I must leave to others; and I for my part shall be equally glad either to perform myself or to accept from
Not Moses, but Aaron. Ex. vii. 12.
2 Seneca Proverbia.
others that duty of humanity, to put the wanderer on the right
1 Ennius, ap. Aul. Gell. xii. 4. and ap. Cic. De Officiis, i. 17.
The Division of all Human Learning into History, Poesy, Philosophy; with reference to the three Intellectual Faculties, - Memory, Imagination, and Reason; and that the same division holds good likewise in Theology.
THE best division of human learning is that derived from the three faculties of the rational soul, which is the seat of learning. History has reference to the Memory, poesy to the Imagination, and philosophy to the Reason. And by poesy here I mean nothing else than feigned history or fables; for verse is but a character of style, and belongs to the arts of speech, whereof I will treat in its proper place.
History is properly concerned with individuals, which are circumscribed by place and time.) For though Natural History may seem to deal with species, yet this is only because of the general resemblance which in most cases natural objects of the same species bear to one another; so that when you know one, you know all. And if individuals are found, which are either unique in their species, like the sun and moon; or notable deviations from their species, like monsters; the description of these has as fit a place in Natural History as that of remarkable men has in Civil History. All this relates to the Memory.
Poesy, in the sense in which I have defined the word, is also concerned with individuals; that is, with individuals invented in imitation of those which are the subject of true history; yet with this difference, that it commonly exceeds the measure of nature, joining at pleasure things which in nature would never have come together, and introducing things which in nature would never have come to pass; just as Painting likewise does. This is the work of Imagination.
Philosophy discards individuals; neither does it deal with the impressions immediately received from them, but with abstract notions derived from these impressions; in the composition and division whereof according to the law of nature and fact its business lies. And this is the office and work of Reason. That these things are so, may be easily seen by observing the commencements of the intellectual process. The sense,