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in good perfection; the two latter are handled so | ral; and therefore impertinent for the story of weakly and unprofitably, as I am moved to note nature. them as deficient. For I find no sufficient or competent collection of the works of nature which have a digression and deflexion from the ordinary course of generations, productions, and motions; whether they be singularities of place and region, or the strange events of time and chance, or the effects of yet unknown properties, or the instances of exception to general kinds. It is true, I find a number of books of fabulous experiments and secrets, and frivolous impostures for pleasure and strangeness; but a substantial and severe collection of the heteroclites or irregulars of nature, well examined and described, I find not; especially not with due rejection of fables and pcpular errors; for as things now are, if an untruth in nature be once on foot, what by reason of the neglect of examination, and countenance of antiquity, and what by reason of the use of the opinion in similitudes and ornaments of speech, it is never called down.
For history of Nature wrought or mechanical, I find some collections made of agriculture, and likewise of manual arts; but commonly with a rejection of experiments familiar and vulgar. For it is esteemed a kind of dishonour unto learning to descend to inquiry or meditation upon matters mechanical, except they be such as may be thought secrets, rarities, and special subtilties; which humour of vain and supercilious arrogancy is justly derided in Plato; where he brings in Hippias, a vaunting sophist, disputing with Socrates, a true and unfeigned inquisitor of truth; where the subject being touching beauty, Socrates, after his wandering manner of inductions, put first an example of a fair virgin, and then of a fair horse, and then of a fair pot well glazed, whereat Hippias was offended, and said, "More than for courtesy's sake, he did think much to dispute with any that did allege such base and sordid instances:" whereunto Socrates answered, "You have reason, and it becomes you well, being a man so trim in your vestments," &c. and so goeth on in an irony. But the truth is, they be not the highest instances that give the securest information; as may be well expressed in the tale so common of the philosopher, that while he gazed upwards to the stars fell into the water; for if he had looked down he might have seen the stars in the water, but looking aloft he could not see the water in the stars. So it cometh often to pass, that mean and small things discover great, better than great can discover the small: and therefore Aristotle noteth well, "that the nature of every thing is best seen in its smallest portions." And for that cause he inquireth the nature of a com monwealth, first in a family, and the simple con jugations of man and wife, parent and child, master and servant, which are in every cottage. Even so likewise the nature of this great city of the world, and the policy thereof, must be first sought in mean concordances and small portions. So we see how that secret of nature, of the turning of iron touched with the loadstone towards the north, was found out in needles of iron, not in bars of iron.
The use of this work, honoured with a precedent in Aristotle, is nothing less than to give contentment to the appetite of curious and vain wits, as the manner of mirabilaries is to do; but for two reasons, both of great weight; the one to correct the partiality of axioms and opinions, which | are commonly framed only upon common and familiar examples; the other because from the wonders of nature is the nearest intelligence and passage towards the wonders of art: for it is no more but by following, and as it were hounding Nature in her wanderings to be able to lead her afterwards to the same place again. Neither am I of opinion, in this history of marvels, that superstitious narrations of sorceries, witchcrafts, dreams, divinations, and the like, where there is an assurance and clear evidence of the fact, be altogether excluded. For it is not yet known in what cases and how far effects attributed to superstition do participate of natural causes: and therefore howsoever the practice of such things is to be condemned, yet from the speculation and consideration of them light may be taken, not only for the discerning of the offences, but for the further disclosing of nature. Neither ought a man to make scruple of entering into these things But if my judgment be of any weight, the for inquisition of truth, as your majesty hath use of History Mechanical is of all others the showed in your own example; who with the two most radical and fundamental towards natural clear eyes of religion and natural philosophy philosophy; such natural philosophy as shall have looked deeply and wisely into these sha- not vanish in the fume of subtile, sublime, dows, and yet proved yourself to be of the nature or delectable speculation, but such as shall of the sun, which passeth through pollutions, and be operative to the endowment and benefit of itself remains as pure as before. But this I hold man's life: for it will not only minister and fit, that these narrations, which have mixture with suggest for the present many ingenious pracsuperstition, be sorted by themselves, and not be tices in all trades, by a connexion and transfermingled with the narrations which are merely ring of the observations of one art to the use of and sincerely natural. But as for the narra- another, when the experiences of several mystetions touching the prodigies and miracles of ries shall fall under the consideration of one man's religions, they are either not true, or not natu- mind: but further, it will give a more true and
real illumination concerning causes and axioms | tion and glory, yet the second excelleth it in profit than is hitherto attained. For like as a man's and use, and the third in verity and sincerity: for disposition is never well known till he be crossed, | history of times representeth the magnitude of nor Proteus ever changed shapes till he was actions, and the public faces and deportments of straitened and held fast; so the passages and persons, and passeth over in silence the smaller variations of nature cannot appear so fully in the passages and motions of men and matters. But liberty of nature, as in the trials and vexations of such being the workmanship of God, as he doth hang the greatest weight upon the smallest wires, For Civil History, it is of three kinds; not un- " maxima è minimis suspendens," it comes therefitly to be compared with the three kinds of pic-fore to pass, that such histories do rather set forth tures or images; for of pictures or images, we the pomp of business than the true and inward see, some are unfinished, some are perfect, and resorts thereof. But Lives, if they be well some are defaced. So of histories we may find written, propounding to themselves a person to three kinds, Memorials, Perfect Histories, and represent in whom actions both greater and Antiquities; for Memorials are history unfinished, | smaller, public and private, have a commixture, or the first or rough draughts of history; and An- must of necessity contain a more true, native, tiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of and lively representation. So again Narrations history which have casually escaped the ship- and relations of actions, as the War of Peloponwreck of time. nesus, the Expedition of Cyrus Minor, the Conspiracy of Catiline, cannot but be more purely and exactly true than histories of times, because they may choose an argument comprehensible within the notice and instructions of the writer: whereas he that undertaketh the story of a time, especially of any length, cannot but meet with many blanks and spaces which he must be forced to fill up out of his own wit and conjecture.
For the History of Times, I mean of civil history, the providence of God hath made the distribution: for it hath pleased God to ordain and illustrate two exemplar states of the world for arms, learning, moral virtue, policy, and laws; the state of Græcia, and the state of Rome; the histories whereof occupying the middle part of time, have, more ancient to them, histories which
Antiquities, or remnants of history, are, as was may by one common name be termed the Antiquisaid, "tanquam tabula naufragii;" when indus-ties of the world; and after them, histories which trious persons, by an exact and scrupulous dili- may be likewise called by the name of Modern and observation, out of monuments, names, | History. gence words, proverbs, traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of books that concern not story, and the like, do save and recover somewhat from the deluge of time.
In these kinds of imperfect histories, I do assign no deficience, for they are "tanquam imperfecte mista;" and therefore any deficience in them is but their nature. As for the corruptions and moths of history, which are Epitomes, the use of them deserveth to be banished, as all men of sound judgment have confessed; as those that have fretted and corroded the sound bodies of many excellent histories, and wrought them into base | Rome;) and for Rome from Romulus to Justiniand unprofitable dregs. anus, who may be truly said to be "ultimus Ro
Now to speak of the deficiencies. As to the heathen antiquities of the world, it is in vain to note them for deficient; deficient they are no doubt, consisting most of fables and fragments; but the deficience cannot be holpen; for antiquity is like fame, "caput inter nubila condit;" her head is muffled from our sight. For the history of the exemplar states, it is extant in good perfection. Not but I could wish there were a perfect course of history for Græcia from Theseus to Philopomen, (what time the affairs of Græcia were drowned and extinguished in the affairs of
History, which may be called Just and Perfect manorum." In which sequences of story the | History, is of three kinds, according to the object text of Thucydides and Xenophon in the one, and which it propoundeth, or pretendeth to represent: the text of Livius, Polybius, Sallustius, Cæsar, for it either representeth a time, or a person, or an Appianus, Tacitus, Herodianus in the other, to be action The first we call Chronicles, the second kept entire without any diminution at all, and Lives, and the third Narrations or Relations. Of only to be supplied and continued. But this is these, although the first be the most complete and matter of magnificence, rather to be commended absolute kind of history, and hath most estima-than required: and we speak now of parts of
Memorials, or preparatory history, are of two sorts; whereof the one may be termed Commentaries, and the other Registers. Commentaries are they which set down a continuance of the naked events and actions, without the motives or designs, the counsels, the speeches, the pretexts, the occasions and other passages of action: for this is the true nature of a Commentary; though Cæsar, in modesty mixed with greatness, did for his pleasure apply the name of a Commentary to the best history of the world. Registers are collections of public acts, as decrees of council, judicial proceedings, declarations and letters of state, orations and the like, without a perfect continuance or contexture of the thread of the
earning supplemental, and not of supereroga- | your majesty and your generations, (in which, 1 tion. hope, it is now established forever,) had these prelusive changes and varieties.
For Lives, I do find it strange that these times have so little esteemed the virtues of the times, as that the writing of lives should be no more frequent. For although there be not many sovereign princes or absolute commanders, and that states are most collected into monarchies, yet are there many worthy personages that deserve better than dispersed report or barren eulogies. For herein the invention of one of the late poets is proper, and doth well enrich the ancient fiction : for he feigneth that at the end of the thread or web of every man's life there was a little medal containing the person's name, and that Time waited upon the shears; and as soon as the thread was cut, caught the medals, and carried them to the river of Lethe; and about the bank there were many birds flying up and down, that would get the medals and carry them in their beak a little while, and then let them fall into the river: only there were a few swans, which if they got a name, would carry it to a temple where it was consecrated.
"Animi nil magnæ laudis egentes;"
But for modern Histories, whereof there are some few very worthy, but the greater part beneath mediocrity, (leaving the care of foreign stories to foreign states, because I will not be "curiosus in aliena republica,") I cannot fail to represent to your majesty the unworthiness of the history of England in the main continuance thereof, and the partiality and obliquity of that of Scotland in the latest and largest author that I have seen: supposing that it would be honour for your majesty, and a work very memorable, if this island of Great Britain, as it is now joined in monarchy for the ages to come, so were joined in one history for the times passed; after the manner of the sacred history, which draweth down the story of the ten tribes and of the two tribes, as twins, together. And if it shall seem that the greatness of this work may make it less exactly performed, there is an excellent period of a much smaller compass of time, as to the story of England; that is to say, from the uniting of the roses to the uniting of the kingdoms; a portion of time, wherein, to my understanding, there hath been the rarest varieties that in like number of successions of any hereditary monarchy hath been known for it beginneth with the mixed adoption of a crown by arms and title; an entry by battle, an establishment by marriage and therefore times answerable, like waters after a which opinion cometh from that root, “non prius tempest, full of working and swelling, though | laudes contempsimus, quam laudanda facere desiwithout extremity of storm: but well passed vimus;" yet that will not alter Solomon's judgthrough by the wisdom of the pilot, being one of ment, "Memoria justi cum laudibus, at impiorum the most sufficient kings of all the number. nomen putrescet:" the one flourisheth, the other Then followeth the reign of a king, whose ac- either consumeth to present oblivion, or turneth tions, howsoever conducted, had much intermix- to an ill odour. And therefore in that style or ture with the affairs of Europe, balancing and addition, which is and hath been long well reinclining them variably; in whose time also ceived and brought in use, "felicis memoriæ, began that great alteration in the state ecclesias- piæ memoriæ, bonæ memoriæ," we do acknowtical, an action which seldom cometh upon the ledge that which Cicero saith, borrowing it from stage. Then the reign of a minor: then an offer Demosthenes, that "bona fama propria possessio of an usurpation, though it was but as "febris defunctorum;" which possession I cannot but ephemera:" then the reign of a queen matched note that in our times it lieth much waste, and with a foreigner: then of a queen that lived soli- that therein there is a deficience. tary and unmarried, and yet her government so masculine that it had greater impression and operation upon the states abroad than it any ways received from thence. And now last, this most happy and glorious event, that this island of Britain, divided from all the world, should be united in itself: and that oracle of rest, given to Æneas, Antiquam exquirite matrem," should now be performed and fulfilled upon the nations of England and Scotland, being now reunited in the ancient mother name of Britain, as a full period of all instability and peregrinations: so that as it cometh to pass in massive bodies, that they have certain trepidations and waverings before they fix and settle; so it seemeth that by the providence of God this monarchy, before it was to settle in
For Narrations and Relations of particular actions, there were also to be wished a greater diligence therein: for there is no great action but hath some good pen which attends it. And because it is an ability not common to write a good history, as may well appear by the small number of them: yet if particularity of actions memorable were but tolerably reported as they pass, the compiling of a complete history of times might be the better expected, when a writer should arise that were fit for it: for the collection of such relations might be as a nursery garden, whereby to plant a fair and stately garden, when time should serve.
And although many men, more mortal in their affections than in their bodies, do esteem desire of name and memory but as a vanity and ventosity,
There is yet another portion of history which Cornelius Tacitus maketh, which is not to be for
got, especially with that application which he accoupleth it withal, " Annals and Journals;" appropriating to the former matters of estate, and to the latter acts and accidents of a meaner nature. For giving but a touch of certain magnificent buildings, he addeth," Cum ex dignitate populi Romani repertum sit, res illustres annalibus, talia diurnis urbis actis mandare." So as there is a kind of contemplative heraldry, as well as civil. And as nothing doth derogate from the dignity of a state more than confusion of degrees; so it doth not a little embase the authority of a history, "Demens qui nimbos et non imitabile fulmen;" &c. to intermingle matters of triumph or matters of ceremony, or matters of novelty, with matters of | but likewise “imitabile cœlum;" in respect of the state. But the use of a journal hath not only many memorable voyages, after the manner of been in the history of time, but likewise in the heaven, about the globe of the earth. history of persons, and chiefly of actions; for princes in ancient time had, upon point of honour and policy both, journals kept of what passed | proficience and augmentation of all sciences; beday by day for we see the chronicle which cause it may seem they are ordained by God to be was read before Ahasuerus, when he could not coevals, that is, to meet in one age. For so the take rest, contained matters of affairs indeed, but prophet Daniel, speaking of the latter times, such as had passed in his own time, and very fortelleth, "Plurimi pertransibunt, et multiplex lately before; but the journal of Alexander's erit scientia:" as if the openness and thorough house expressed every small particularity, even passage of the world and the increase of knowconcerning his person and court; and it is yet|ledge were appointed to be in the same ages: as a use well received in enterprises memorable, we see it is already performed in great part: the as expeditions of war, navigations, and the learning of these latter times not much giving like, to keep diaries of that which passeth con- place to the former two periods or returns of learntinually. ing, the one of the Grecians, the other of the Romans.
And this proficience in navigation and discoveries may plant also an expectation of the further
I cannot likewise be ignorant of a form of writing which some grave and wise men have used, containing a scattered history of those actions which they have thought worthy of memory, with politic discourse and observation thereupon: not incorporated into the history, but separately, and as the more principal in their intention; which kind of ruminated history I think more fit to place amongst books of policy, whereof we shall hereafter speak, than amongst books of history: for it is the true office of history to represent the events themselves together with the counsels, and to leave the observations and conclusions thereupon to the liberty and faculty of every man's judgment: but mixtures are things irregular, whereof no man can define.
"Nosque ubi primus equis oriens afflavit anhelis,
yet that might be by demonstration, and not in
So also is there another kind of history manifoldly mixed, and that is History of Cosmography: being compounded of natural history, in respect of the regions themselves; of history civil, in respect of the habitations, regiments, and manners of the people; and the mathematics, in respect of the climates and configurations towards the heavens which part of learning of all others, in this latter time, hath obtained most proficience. For it may be truly affirmed to the honour of these times, and in a virtuous emulation with antiquity, that this great building of the world had never thorough lights made in it, till the age of us and our fathers; for although they had knowledge of the antipodes,
History Ecclesiastical receiveth the same divisions with history civil: but further, in the propriety thereof, may be divided into the History of the Church, by a general name; History of Prophecy; and History of Providence. The first describeth the times of the "militant church," whether it be fluctuant, as the ark of Noah; or movable, as the ark in the wilderness; or at rest, as the ark in the temple: that is, the state of the church in persecution, in remove, and in peace. This part I ought in no sort to note as deficient; only I would that the virtue and sincerity of it were according to the mass and quantity. But I am not now in hand with censures, but with omissions.
The second, which is History of Prophecy, consisteth of two relatives, the prophecy, and the accomplishment; and therefore the nature of such a work ought to be, that every prophecy of the Scripture be sorted with the event fulfilling the same, throughout the ages of the world; both for the better confirmation of faith, and for the better illumination of the church touching those rarts of prophecies which are yet unfulfilled: allowing nevertheless that latitude which is agreeable and familiar unto divine prophecies; being of the nature of their author, with whom a thousand years are but as one day; and therefore are not fulfilled punctually at once, but have springing and germinant accomplishment throughout many ages·
though the height or fulness of them may refer to some one age. This is a work which I find deficient; but is to be done with wisdom, sobriety, and reverence, or not at all.
The third, which is History of Providence, containeth that excellent correspondence which is between God's revealed will and his secret will: which though it be so obscure, as for the most part it is not legible to the natural man; no, nor many times to those that behold it from the tabernacle; yet at some times it pleaseth God, for our better establishment and the confuting of those which are as without God in the world, to write it in such text and capital letters, that as the prophet saith, he that runneth by may read it ;" that is, mere sensual persons, which hasten by God's judgments and never bend or fix their cogitations upon them, are nevertheless in their passage and race urged to discern it. Such are the notable events and examples of God's judgments, chastisements, deliverances, and blessings: and this is a work which hath passed through the labours of many, and therefore I cannot present as omitted.
is that part of learning which answereth to one of the cells, domiciles, or offices of the mind of man; which is that of the Memory.
POESY is a part of learning in measure of words for the most part restrained, but in all other points extremely licensed, and doth truly refer to the imagination; which, being not tied to the laws of matter, may at pleasure join that which nature hath severed, and sever that which nature hath joined; and so make unlawful matches and divorces of things; "Pictoribus atque poetis, &c." It is taken in two senses, in respect of words, or matter: in the first sense it is but a character of style, and belongeth to arts of speech, and is not pertinent for the present: in the latter, it is, as hath been said, one of the principal portions of learning, and is nothing else but feigned history, which may be styled as well in prose as in verse.
The use of this feigned history hath been to give some shadow of satisfaction to the mind of man in those points wherein the nature of things doth deny it, the world being in proportion inferior to the soul; by reason whereof there is, agreeable to the spirit of man, a more ample greatness, a more exact goodness, and a more absolute variety, than can be found in the nature of things. Therefore, because the acts or events of true history have not that magnitude which satisfieth the mind of man, poesy feigneth acts and events greater and more heroical: because true history propoundeth the successes and issues of actions not so agreeable to the merits of virtue and
There are also other parts of learning which are Appendices to history: for all the exterior proceedings of man consist of words and deeds; whereof history doth properly receive and retain in memory the deeds; and if words, yet but as inducements and passages to deeds: so are there other books and writings, which are appropriate to the custody and receipt of words only; which likewise are of three sorts; Orations, Letters, and brief Speeches or Sayings. Orations are plead-vice, therefore poesy feigns them more just in reings, speeches of counsel, laudatives, invectives, tribution, and more according to revealed proviapologies, reprehensions, orations of formality or dence: because true history representeth actions ceremony, and the like. Letters are according to and events more ordinary, and less interchanged, all the variety of occasions, advertisements, ad- therefore poesy endueth them with more rareness, vices, directions, propositions, petitions, commen- and more unexpected and alternative variations: datory, expostulatory, satisfactory; of compliment, so as it appeareth that poesy serveth and conferof pleasure, of discourse, and all other passages reth to magnanimity, morality, and to delectation. of action. And such as are written from wise And therefore it was ever thought to have some men, are of all the words of man, in my judgment, participation of divineness, because it doth raise the best; for they are more natural than orations and erect the mind, by submitting the shows of and public speeches, and more advised than con- things to the desires of the mind; whereas reason ferences or present speeches. So again letters doth buckle and bow the mind unto the nature of of affairs from such as manage them, or are privy things. And we see, that by these insinuations to them, are of all others the best instructions for and congruities with man's nature and pleasure, history, and to a diligent reader the best histories joined also with the agreement and consort it in themselves. For Apophthegms, it is a great hath with music, it hath had access and estimaloss of that book of Cæsar's; for as his history, and tion in rude times and barbarous regions, where those few letters of his which we have, and those other learning stood excluded. apophthegms which were of his own, excel all men's else, so I suppose would his collection of apophthegms have done; for as for those which are collected by others, either I have no taste in such matters, or else their choice hath not been happy. But upon these three kinds of writings, I do not insist, because I have no deficiencies to propound concerning them. The Narrative is a mere imitation of history, Thus much therefore concerning history; which with the excesses before remembered; choosing
The division of poesy which is aptest in the propriety thereof, (besides those divisions which are common unto it with history, as feigned chronicles, feigned lives, and the appendices of history, as feigned epistles, feigned orations, and the rest,) is into Poesy, Narrative, Representative, and Allusive.