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to see his star, that they might be led to his place, | hold grief no evil, but opinion, and a thing inwooing the remorseless sisters to wind down the watch of their life, and to break them off before the hour.

9. But death is a doleful messenger to a usurer, and fate untimely cuts their thread: for it is never mentioned by him, but when rumours of war and civil tumults put him in mind thereof.

But I consent with Cæsar, that the suddenest passage is easiest, and there is nothing more awakens our resolve and readiness to die, than the quieted conscience, strengthened with opinion that we shall be well spoken of upon earth by those that are just and of the family of virtue; the opposite whereof is a fury to man, and makes even life unsweet.

And when many hands are armed, and the peace of a city in disorder, and the foot of the common soldiers sounds an alarm on his stairs, then per- Therefore, what is more heavy than evil fame haps such a one, broken in thoughts of his moneys | deserved? Or, likewise, who can see worse days, abroad, and cursing the monuments of coin which than he that yet living doth follow at the funerals are in his house, can be content to think of death; of his own reputation? and, being hasty of perdition, will perhaps hang himself, lest his throat should be cut; provided that he may do it in his study, surrounded with wealth, to which his eye sends a faint and languishing salute, 'even upon the turning off; | death can sell a man; but briefly, death is a friend remembering always, that he have time and liberty by writing, to depute himself as his own heir.

I have laid up many hopes, that I am privileged from that kind of mourning, and could wish the like peace to all those with whom I wage love.

12. I might say much of the commodities that

of ours, and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home. Whilst I am, my ambition is not to foreflow the tide; I have but so to make my

For that is a great peace to his end, and recon- interest of it, as I may account for it; I would ciles him wonderfully upon the point.

10. Herein we all dally with ourselves, and are without proof of necessity. I am not of those that dare promise to pine away myself in vain glory, and I hold such to be but feat boldness, and them that dare commit it to be vain. Yet for my part, I think nature should do me great wrong, if I should be so long in dying as I was in being born.

To speak truth, no man knows the lists of his own patience; nor can divine how able he shall be in his sufferings, till the storm come; the perfectest virtue being tried in action: but I would, out of a care to do the best business well, ever keep a guard, and stand upon keeping faith and a good conscience.

11. And if wishes might find place, I would die together, and not my mind often, and my body once; that is, I would prepare for the messengers of death, sickness and affliction, and not wait long, or be attempted by the violence of pain.

Herein I do not profess myself a Stoic, to

wish nothing but what might better my days,
nor desire any greater place than in the front of
good opinion. I make not love to the continuance
of days, but to the goodness of them; nor wish to
die, but refer myself to my hour, which the great
Dispenser of all things hath appointed me; yet as
I am frail, and suffered for the first fault, were
it given me to choose, I should not be earnest to
see the evening of my age; that extremity of it-
self being a disease, and a mere return into infancy;
so that if perpetuity of life might be given me, I
should think what the Greek poet said, "Such an
age is a mortal evil." And since I must needs be
dead, I require it may not be done before mine
enemies, that I be not stript before I be cold: but
before my friends. The night was even now; but
that name is lost; it is not now late, but early.
Mine eyes begin to discharge their watch, and
compound with this fleshly weakness for a time
of perpetual rest; and I shall presently be as
happy for a few hours, as I had died the first
hour I was born.








THE Advancement of Learning was published in the year 1605. It is entitled



Of the proficience and aduancement of Learning, diuine and humane.



¶ Printed for Henri Tomes, and are to be sould at his shop in Graies Inne Gate in Holborne. 1605 It is a small thin quarto of 119 pages, somewhat incorrectly printed, the subjects being distinguished by capitals and italics introduced into the text, with a few marginal notes in Latin. The following is an exact specimen :

"HISTORY IS NATVRALL, CIVILE, ECCLESIASTICALL & LITERARY, whereof the three first I allow as extant, the fourth I note as deficient. For no man hath propounded to himselfe the generall state of learning to bee described and represented from age to age, as many haue done the works of nature, & the State ciuile and Ecclesiastical; without which the History of the world seemeth to me, to be as the Statua of Polyphemus with his eye out, that part being wanting, which doth most shew the spirit, and life of the person."

Of this work he sent a copy, with a letter, to the king; to the university of Cambridge; to Trinity College, Cambridge; to the university of Oxford; to Sir Thomas Bodley; to Lord Chancellor Egerton; to the Earl of Salisbury; to the Lord Treasurer Buckhurst: and to Mr. Matthews. From these letters, which are all in existence, the letter to the lord chancellor, as a favourable specimen, is annexed:


“I humbly present your lordship with a work, wherein, as you have much commandment over the author, so your lordship hath great interest in the argument: For to speak without flattery, few have like use of learning or like judgment in learning, as I have observed in your lordship. And again, your lordship hath been a great planter of learning, not only in those places in the church which have been in your own gift, but also in your commendatory vote, no man hath more constantly held; let it be given to the most deserving, detur digniori: And therefore, both your lordship is beholding to learning and learning beholding to you; which maketh me presume with good assurance that your lordship will accept well of these my labours; the rather because your lordship in private speech hath often begun to me in expressing your admiration of his majesty's learning, to whom I have dedicated this work; and whose virtue and perfection in that kind did chiefly move me to a work of this nature. And so with signification of my most humble duty and affection to your lordship, I remain."


Some short time after the publication of this work, probably about the year 1608, Sir Francis Bacon was desirous that the Advancement of Learning should be translated into Latin; and, for this purpose, he applied to Dr. Playfer, the Margaret Professor of Divinity in the university of Cambridge."

Upon the subject of this application Archbishop Tennison says in his Baconiana :—“ The doctor was willing to serve so excellent a person, and so worthy a design; and, within a while sent him a specimen of a latine translation. But men, generally, come short of themselves when they strive to out-doe themselves. They put a force upon their natural genius, and, by straining of it, crack and disable it. And so, it seems, it happened to that worthy and elegant man. Upon this great occasion, he would be over-accurate; and he sent a specimen of such superfine latinity, that the Lord Bacon did not encourage him to labour further in that work, in the penning of which, he desired not so much neat and polite, as clear, masculine, and apt expression.”

On the 12th of October, 1620, in a letter to the king, presenting the Novum Organum to his majesty, Lord Bacon says, "I hear my former book of the Advancement of Learning, is well tasted in the universities here, and the English colleges abroad: and this is the same argument sunk deeper." An edition, in 8vo, was published in 1629; and a third edition, corrected from the original edition of 1605, was published at Oxford in 1633. These are the only editions of the Advancement of Learning, which were published before the year 1636, a period of ten years after the death of Lord Bacon.

The present edition is corrected from the first edition of 1605, and with the hope of making it more acceptable to the public, an Analysis of the whole work, with a table of contents, is prefixed.

1 This appears by the following letter, without any date:


"A great desire will take a small occasion to hope and put in trial that which is desired. It pleased you a good while since, to express unto me the good liking which you conceived of my book of the Advancement of Learning; and that more significantly, (as it seemed to me) than out of courtesie, or civil respect. Myself, as I then took contentment in your approbation thereof; so I esteem and acknowledge, not onely my contentment encreased, but my labours advanced, if I might obtain your help in that nature which I desire. Wherein before I set down in plain terms my request unto you, I will open myself, what it was which I chiefly sought and propounded to myself in that work; that you may perceive that which I now desire, to be perusant thereupon. If I do not much err, for any judgment that a man maketh of his own doings had need be spoken with a Si nunquam fallit Imago, I have this opinion, that if I had sought mine own commendation, it had been a much fitter course for me to have done as gardeners used to do, by taking their seed and slips, and rearing them first into plants, and so uttering them in pots, when they are in flower, and in their best state. But for as much as my end was Merit of the State of Learning (to my power) and not Glory; and because my purpose was rather to excite other men's wits than to magnifie mine own; I was desirous to prevent the uncertainness of mine own life and times, by uttering rather seeds than plants: Nay and further, (as the proverb is,) by sowing with the basket, rather than with the hand: Wherefore, since I have onely taken upon me to ring a bell, to call other wits together, (which is the meanest office,) it cannot but be consonant to my desire, to have that bell heard as far as can be. And since they are but sparks which can work but upon matter prepared, I have the more reason to wish that those sparks may fly abroad, that they may the better find and light upon those minds and spirits which are apt to be kindled. And therefore the privateness of the language considered, wherein it is written, excluding so many readers; as on the other side, the obscurity of the argument, in many parts of it, excludeth many others; I must account it a second birth of that work, if it might be translated into Latin, without manifest loss of the sense and matter. For this purpose I could not represent to myself any man into whose hands I do more earnestly desire that work should fall than yourself; for by that I have heard and read, I know no man, a greater master in commanding words to serve matter. Nevertheless, I am not ignorant of the worth of your labours, whether such as your place and profession imposeth, or such as your own virtue may upon your voluntary election take in hand. But I can lay before you no other perswasions than either the work itself may affect you with; or the honour of his majesty, to whom it is dedicated, or your particular inclination to myself; who, as I never took so much comfort in any labours of my own, so I shall never acknowledge myself more obliged in any thing to the labours of another, than in that which shall assist it. Which your labour, if I can by my place, profession, means, friends, travel, work, deed, requite unto you, I shall esteem myself so streightly bound thereunto, as I shall be ever most ready both to take and seek occasion of thankfulness. So leaving it nevertheless, Salva Amicitia, as reason is to your good liking. I remain."

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3. Solomon says there is no end of making books, and he that increases knowledge increases anxiety 163 We must not so place our felicity in knowledge as to forget our mortality: but to give ourselves repose and contentment, and not presume by the contemplation of nature to attain to the mysteries of God.

Let no man, upon a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or main tain, that a man can search too far, or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works; divinity or philosophy.


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1. Learning softens men's minds and makes them unfit for arms. 164 Alexander the Great and Julius Cæsar the dictator; whereof the one was Aristotle's scholar in philosophy, and the other was Cicero's rival in eloquence: or if any man had rather call for scholars that were great generals, than generals that were great scholars, let him take Epaminondas the Theban, or Xenophon the Athenian.


Learning makes men unfit for civil affairs.... 164 It is accounted an error to commit a natural body to empiric physicians, which commonly have a few pleasing receipts, whereupon they are confident and adventurous, but know neither the causes of diseases, nor the complexions of patients, nor peril of accidents, nor the true method of cures; we see it is a like error to rely upon advocates or lawyers, which are only men of practice, and not grounded in their books, who are many times easily surprised, when matter falleth out besides their experience to the prejudices of the causes they handle: so by like reason, it cannot be but a matter of doubtful consequence, if states be managed by empiric statesmen, not well mingled with men grounded in learning.

4. St. Paul warns us not to be spoiled through vain 3. It makes them irresolute by variety of reading 164



The sense of men resembles the sun, which

opens and reveals the terrestrial globe but con

It teacheth them when and upon what ground to resolve, and to carry things in suspense till they resolve.

ceals the stars and celestial globe: hence men 4. It makes them too peremptory by strictness of

fall who seek to fly up to the secrets of the Deity by the waxen wings of the senses.

5. Learned men are inclined to be heretics, and learned men to atheism.


It is an assured truth and a conclusion of experience, that a little or superficial knowledge of philosophy may incline the mind of man to atheism, but a further proceeding therein doth bring the mind back again to religion. VOL. I.-18


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It teacheth them when and upon what ground to resolve; yea, and how to carry things in suspense without prejudice, till they resolve; if it make men positive and regular, it teacheth them what things are in their nature demonstrative, and what are conjectural; and as well the use of distinctions and exceptions, as the latitude of principles and rules.

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