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It teacheth men the force of circumstances, the errors of comparisons, and all the cautions of application.

6. It makes them incompatible by dissimilitude of examples..

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Let a man look into the errors of Clement the Seventh, so livelily described by Guicciardine, who served under him, or into the errors of Cicero, painted out by his own pencil in his epistles to Atticus, and he will fly apace from being irresolute. Let him look into the errors of Phocion, and he will beware how he be obstinate or inflexible. Let him but read the fable of Ixion, and it will hold him from being vaporous or imaginative. Let him look into the errors of Cato the Second, and he will never be one of the Antipodes, to tread opposite to the present world.

into a new vessel, than into a vessel seasoned; and what mould they lay about a young plant, than about a plant corroborate: so as the weakest terms and times of all things use to have the best applications and helps.




7. It disposes men to leisure and retirement..... 165 2.
It were strange if that, which accustometh
the mind to a perpetual motion and agitation,
should induce slothfulness: of all men they
are the most indefatigable, if it be towards
any business that can detain their minds.

The most active or busy men that hath been
or can be, hath, no question, many vacant times
of leisure, while he expecteth the tides and re-
turns of business. And then the question is,
but how those spaces and times of leisure shall
be filled and spent; whether in pleasures or
in studies: as was well answered by Demos- 3.
thenes, to his adversary Eschines, that was a
man given to pleasure, and told him, that his
orations did smell of the lamp: "Indeed,"
said Demosthenes, "there is a great difference
between the things that you and I do by lamp

8. It relaxes discipline by making men more ready to
argue than to obey

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To say that a blind custom of obedience should be a surer obligation than duty taught and understood, is to affirm, that a blind man may tread surer by a guide than a seeing man can by a light. And it is without all controversy, that learning doth make the minds of men gentle, generous, maniable, and pliant to government; whereas ignorance makes them churlish, thwarting, and mutinous.


1. From their fortunes.

2. From their manners.

3. From the nature of their studies.



1. Learned men are poor and live in obscurity.

Learned men forgotten in states, and not living in the eyes of men, are like the images of Cassius and Brutus in the Funeral of Junia: of which not being represented, as many others were, Tacitus saith, "Eo ipso præfulgebant, quod non visebantur.”

2. Learned men are engaged in mean employments, as the education of youth.

We see men are more curious what they put


Learned men endeavour to impose the laws of ancient severity upon dissolute times.

Solon, when he was asked whether he had given his citizens the best laws, answered wisely, "Yea, of such as they would receive," and Plato, finding that his own heart could not agree with the corrupt manners of his country, refused to hear place or office: saying, “ That a man's country was to be used as his parents were, that is, with humble persuasions, and not with contestations."

Learned men prefer the public good to their own


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1. The largeness of their minds, which cannot descend to particulars.

He that cannot contract the sight of his mind, as well as disperse and dilate it, wanteth a great faculty.

2. Learned men reject from choice and judgment. The honest and just bounds of observation, by one person upon another, extend no farther but to understand him sufficiently, whereby not to give him offence, or whereby to be able to give him faithful counsel, or whereby to stand upon reasonable guard and caution in respect of a man's self; but to be speculative into another man, to the end to know how to work him, or wind him, or govern him, proceedeth from a heart that is double and cloven, and not entire and ingenuous.

4. Learned men are negligent in their behaviour. Learned men should not stoop to persons, although they ought to submit to occasions.1

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2. Origin of the prevalence of delicate learning in late times. 170 3. Delicate learning exists more or less in all times 170 4. Attention to style ought not to be neglected.. 170

But yet, notwithstanding, it is a thing not hastily to be condemned, to clothe and adorn the obscurity, even of philosophy itself, with sensible and plausible elocution:

But the excess of this is so justly contemptible, that as Hercules, when he saw the image of Adonis, Venus's minion, in a temple, said in disdain, "Nil sacri es," so there is none of Hercules's followers in learning, that is, the more severe and laborious sort of inquirers into truth, but will despise those delicacies and affectations, as indeed capable of no divineness. Contentious Learning.

1. It is vanity of matter, useless knowledge, and is worse than vanity of words. 170

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As many substances in nature, which are solid, do putrefy and corrupt into worms: so it is the property of good and sound knowledge, to putrefy and dissolve into a number of subtle, idle, unwholesome, and, as I may term them, vermiculate questions, which have indeed a kind of quickness, and life of spirit, but no soundness of matter or goodness of quality.

2. Badges of false science

1. Novelty of terms.

2. Strictness of positions.


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2. Erroneous modes of investigation.
Were it not better for a man in a fair room
to set up one great light, or branching candle-
stick of lights, than to go about with a small
watch candle into every corner?

The generality of the schoolmen are for a while good and proportionable; but then, when you descend into their distinctions and decisions, instead of a fruitful womb, for the use and benefit of man's life, they end in monstrous altercations and barking questions.

5. It is to be lamented that the learning of the schoolmen was so confined...


If those schoolmen, to their great thirst of

1 See note (B) at the end of this Treatise.

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Surely to alchymy this right is due, that it may be compared to the husbandman whereof Esop makes the fable; that, when he died, told his sons, that he had left unto them gold buried under ground in his vineyard; and they digged over all the ground, and gold they found none; but by reason of their stirring and digging the mould about the roots of their vines, they had a great vintage the year following: so assuredly the search and stir to make gold hath brought to light a great number of good and fruitful inventions and experiments, as well for the disclosing of nature, as for the use of man's life.

2. Authors.

Authors should be as consuls to advise, not as dictators to command.

Let great authors have their duc, as time, which is the author of authors, be not deprived of his due, which is, further and further to discover truth.


1. The extreme affecting either of antiquity or no172 velty "State super vias antiquas, et videte quænam sit via recta et bona, et ambulate in ea."

2. A

3. A


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Antiquitas sæculi juventus mundi." These times are the ancient times, when the world is ancient, and not those which we account ancient "ordine retrogrado," by a computation backward from ourselves.2 suspicion that there is nothing new. conceit that of former opinions or sects, after variety and examination, the best hath prevailed.. 173

The truth is, that time seemeth to be of the nature of a river or stream, which_carrieth down to us that which is light and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth that which is weighty and solid.

The over early and peremptory reduction of knowledge into arts and methods 173


2 See note (C) at the end of this Treatise.

z See note (D) at the end of this Treatise.

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Upon these intellectualists, which are, notwithstanding, commonly taken for the most sublime and divine philosophers, Heraclitus gave a just censure, saying, “Men_sought truth in their own little worlds, and not in the great and common world."

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7. The tainting doctrines with favourite opinions. 8. Impatience of doubt, and haste to assertion.2 9. The delivering knowledge too peremptorily.3 10. Being content to work on the labours of others instead of inventing.. 174 11. The mistaking the furthest end of knowledge.4 173 Men have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity, and inquisitive appetite; sometimes to entertain their minds with variety and delight; sometimes for ornament and reputation; and sometimes to enable them to victory of wit and contradiction; and most times for lucre and profession; and seldom sincerely to give a true account of their gift of reason, to the benefit and use of man: as if there were sought in knowledge a couch, whereupon to rest a searching and restless spirit; or a terrasse for a wandering and variable mind to walk up and down with a fair prospect; or a tower of state, for a proud mind to raise itself upon; or a fort or commanding ground, for strife and contention; or a shop, for profit or sale; and not a rich storehouse, for the glory of the Creator, and the relief of man's estate.



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I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

2. After the creation.

1. Before the flood.
2. After the flood.

1. Before Christianity


In the law of the leprosy, it is said, "If the whiteness have overspread the flesh, the patient may pass abroad for clean; but if there be any whole flesh remaining, he is to be shut up for unclean," one of them noteth a principle of nature, that putrefaction is more contagious before maturity than after: and another noteth a position of moral philosophy, that men abandoned to vice do not so much corrupt manners, as those that are half good and half evil. 2. After Christianity.

2. Human proofs


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177 1. Learning relieves man's afflictions which arise from 177 Founders and uniters of states and cities, lawgivers, extirpers of tyrants, fathers of the people, and other eminent persons in civil merit, were honoured but with the titles of worthies or demi-gods; such as were Hercules, Theseus, Minos, Romulus, and the like: on the other side, such as were inventors and authors of new arts, endowments, and commodities towards man's life, were ever consecrated amongst the gods themselves: as were Ceres, Bacchus, Mercurius, Apollo, and others: and justly; for the merit of the former is confined within the circle of an age or a nation, and is like fruitful showers, which though they be profitable and good, yet serve but for that season, and for a latitude of ground where they fall; but the other is indeed like the benefits of heaven, which are permanent and universal. The former, again, is mixed with strife and perturbation, but the latter hath the true character of divine presence, coming "in aura leni," without noise or agitation. Learning represses the inconveniences which grow from man to man 177


In Orpheus's theatre, all beasts and birds assembled; and forgetting their several appetites, some of prey, some of game, some of quarrel, stood all sociably together listening to the airs and accords of the harp; the sound whereof no sooner ceased, or was drowned by some louder noise, but every beast returned to his own nature: wherein is aptly described the nature and condition of men, who are full of savage and unreclaimed desires of profit, of lust, of revenge; which as long as they give ear to precepts, to laws, to religion, sweetly touched with eloquence and persuasion of books, of sermons, of harangues, so long is society and peace maintained; but if these instruments be silent, or sedition and tumult make them not audible, all things dissolve into anarchy and confusion.

When there were no depths I was brought forth; when 3. Proof of this position, by showing the conjunction

there were no fountains abounding with water.

Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth.

While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor

the highest part of the dust of the world.

between learning in the prince and happiness in the people..


But for a tablet, or picture of smaller

not pass his commandment: when he appointed the founda

When he prepared the heavens I was there: when he set tions of the earth:

a compass upon the face of the depth:

Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was When he established the clouds above: when he strengthen- daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. ed the fountains of the deep:

PROVERBS, chap. viii.

When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should

• See note (I) at the end of this Treatise.

volume, (not presuming to speak of your majesty that liveth,) in my judgment the most excellent is that of Queen Elizabeth, your immediate predecessor in this part of Britain; a princess that, if Plutarch were now alive to write lives by parallels, would trouble him, I think, to find for her a parallel amongst women. This lady was endued with learning in her sex singular, and rare even amongst masculine princes; whether we speak of learning, language, or of science, modern or ancient, divinity or humanity: and unto the very last year of her life she was accustomed to appoint set hours for reading, scarcely any young student in a university more daily, or more duly. As for her government, I assure myself, I shall not exceed, if I do affirm that this part of the island never had forty-five years of better times; and yet not through the calmness of the season, but through the wisdom of her regimen. For if there be considered of the one side, the truth of religion established, the constant peace and security, the good administration of justice, the temperate use of the prerogative, not slackened, nor much strained, the flourishing state of learning, sortable to so excellent a patroness, the convenient estate of wealth and means, both of crown and subject, the habit of obedience, and the moderation of discontents; and there be considered, on the other side, the differences of religion, the troubles of neighbour countries, the ambition of Spain, and opposition of Rome, and then, that she was solitary and of herself: these things, I say, considered, as I could not have chosen an instance so recent and so proper, so, I suppose, I could not have chosen one more remarkable or eminent to the purpose now in hand, which is concerning the conjunction of learning in the prince with felicity in the people... 178 3. There is a concurrence between learning and mi181 litary virtue.




When Cæsar, after war declared, did possess himself of the city of Rome; at which time entering into the inner treasury to take the 8. money there accumulated, Metellus, being tribune, forbade him: whereto Cæsar said, "That if he did not desist, he would lay him dead in the place." And presently taking himself up, he added, "Adolescens, durius est mihi hoc dicere quum facere." Young man, it is harder for me to speak than to do it. A speech compounded of the greatest terror and greatest clemency that could proceed out of the mouth of man.

4. Learning improves private virtues...


1. It takes away the barbarism of men's minds. "Scilicet ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes, Emollit mores, nec sinit esse feros."

2. It takes away levity, temerity, and insolency. 3. It takes away vain admiration..


If a man meditate much upon the universal frame of nature, the earth with men upon it, the divineness of souls excepted, will not seem much other than an ant hill, where as some ants carry corn, and some carry their young, and some go empty, and all to and fro a little heap of dust.

1 This beautiful passage is omitted in the Treatise De Augmentis.

4. It mitigates the fear of death or adverse for


Virgil did excellently and profoundly couple the knowledge of causes and the conquest of all fears together, as "concomitantia." "Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas, Quique metus omnes, et inexorabile futum Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari.”

5. It disposes the mind not to be fixed in its defects. 182 The unlearned man knows not what it is to descend into himself, or to call himself to account; nor the pleasure of that "suavissima vita, indies sentire se fieri meliorem."

Certain it is that "veritas" and "bonitas" differ but as the seal and the print: for truth prints goodness; and they be the clouds of error which descend in the storms of passions and perturbations.

Learning is power.2

Learning advances fortune.


The pleasure of knowledge is the greatest of plea


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We see in all other pleasures there is satiety, and after they be used, their verdure departeth; which showeth well they be but deceits of pleasure, and not pleasures; and that it was the novelty which pleased, and not the quality: and therefore we see that voluptuous men turn friars, and ambitious princes turn melancholy. But of knowledge there is no satiety, but satisfaction and appetite are perpetually interchangeable.

It is a view of delight, to stand or walk upon the shore side, and to see a ship tossed with tempest upon the sea; or to be in a fortified tower, and to see two battles join upon a plain; but it is a pleasure incomparable, for the mind of man to be settled, landed, and fortified in the certainty of truth; and from thence to descry and behold the errors, perturbations, labours, and wanderings up and down of other men.

Learning insures immortality..


If the invention of the ship was thought so noble, which carrieth riches and commodities from place to place, and consociateth the most remote regions in participation of their fruits, how much more are letters to be magnified, which, as ships, pass through the vast seas of time, and make ages so distant to participate of the wisdom, illuminations, and inventions, the one of the other?

Nevertheless, I do not pretend, and I know it will be impossible for me, by any pleading of mine, to reverse the judgment, either of Esop's cock, that preferred the barleycorn before the gem; or of Midas, that being chosen judge between Apollo president of the Muses, and Pan god of the flocks, judged for plenty, or of Paris, that judged for beauty and love against wisdom and power; nor of Agrippina, “occidat matrem, modo imperet," that preferred empire with conditions never so detestable; or of Ulyssus, "qui vetulam prætulit immortalitati," being a figure of those which prefer custom and habit before all excellency; or of a number of the like popular judgments.

* See note (L) at the end of this Treatise


For these things continue as they have been: but so will that also continue whereupon learning hath ever relied, and which faileth not: "justificata est sapientia a filiis suis."







1. Dedication to the king..

2. Preliminary considerations.

1. Modes by which difficulties are overcome. 1. Amplitude of reward to encourage exertion.

2. Soundness of direction to prevent confusion.

3. Conjunction of labours to supply the frailty of man.

2. The objects about which the acts of merit towards learning are conversant.... 184 1. The places of learning.

2. The books of learning.
3. The persons of the learned



As water, whether it be the dew of heaven, or the springs of the earth, doth scatter and lose itself in the ground, except it be collected into some receptacle, where it may by union comfort and sustain itself, (and for that cause the industry of man hath made and framed springheads, conduits, cisterns, and pools, 1. which men have accustomed likewise to beautify and adorn with accomplishments of magnificence and state, as well as of use and necessity,) so this excellent liquor of knowledge, whether it descend from divine inspiration, or spring from human sense, would soon perish and vanish to oblivion, if it were not preserved in books, traditions, conferences, and places appointed, as universities, colleges, and schools, for the receipt and comforting of the


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They are as the shrines where all the relics of the ancient saints, full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed.

2. New editions of authors.

III. THE PERSONS OF THE LEARNED 1. Learned men should be countenanced. 2. There should be rewards.

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If men judge that learning should be referred to action, they judge well; but in this they fall into the error described in the ancient fable, in which the other parts of the body did suppose the stomach had been idle, because it neither performed the office of motion, as the limbs do; nor of sense, as the head doth; but yet, notwithstanding, it is the stomach that digesteth and distributeth to all the rest: so if any man think philosophy and universality to be idle studies, he doth not consider that all professions are from thence served and supplied. And this I take to be a great cause tnat hath hindered the progression of learning, because these fundamental knowledges have been studied but in passage. For if you will have a tree bear more fruit than it hath used to do, it is not any thing you can do to the boughs, but it is the stirring of the earth and putting new mould about the roots, that must work it.

It is injurious to government that there is not any collegiate education for statesmen 185 Second defect. The salaries of lecturers are too

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Third defect. There are not sufficient funds for providing models, instruments, experiments, &c... Fourth defect. There is a neglect in the governors of consultation, and, in superiors of visitation as to the propriety of continuing or Scholars study logic and rhetoric 2 amending the established courses of study 186


For minds empty and unfraught with matter, and which have not gathered that which Cicero calleth "sylva" and "supellex," stuff and variety, to begin with those arts, (as if one should learn to weigh, or to measure, or to paint the wind,) doth work but this effect, that the wisdom of those arts, which is great and universal, is almost made contemptible, and is degenerate into childish sophistry and ridiculous affectation.2

2. There is too great a divorce between invention and memory 186

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