Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

Nec tanto ceres labore, ut in fabulis est, liberam fertur quæsivisse filiam, quanto ego hanc т8 nars idéar veluti pulcherrimam quandam imaginem, per omnes rerum formas et facies: (πολλαὶ γὰρ μορφαὶ τῶν Δαιμονίων) dies noctesque indagare soleo, et quasi certis quibusdam vestigiis ducentem sector. Unde fit, ut qui, spretis quæ vulgus prava rerum æstimatione opinatur, id sentire et loqui et esse audet; quod summa per omne ævum sapientia optimum esse docuit, illi me protinus, sicubi reperiam, necessitate quadam adjungam. Quod si ego sive natura, sive meo fato ita sum comparatus, ut nulla contentione, et laboribus meis ad tale decus et fastigium laudis ipse valeam emergere; tamen quo minus qui eam gloriam assecuti sunt, aut eo feliciter aspirant, illos semper colam, et suspiciam, nec Dii puto, nec homines prohibuerint.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]







B. M.



such parents, but also at that happy time "when learning4 had inade her third circuit; when the art

FROM HIS BIRTH TILL THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER. of printing gave books with a liberal hand to men

1560 to 1580.

FRANCIS BACON was born at York-House, in the Strand, on the 22d of January, 1560. He was the youngest son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, and of Anne, a daughter of the learned and contemplative Sir Anthony Cooke, tutor to King Edward the Sixth.

Of Sir Nicholas, it has been said, that he was a man full of wit and wisdom, a learned lawyer, and a true gentleman; of a mind the most comprehensive to surround the merits of a cause; of a memory to recollect its least circumstance;1 of the deepest search into affairs of any man at the council table, and of a personal dignity so well suited to his other excellencies, that his royal mistress was wont to say, "My lord keeper's soul is well lodged."

He was still more fortunate in the rare qualities of his mother, for Sir Anthony Cooke, acting upon his favourite opinion then very prevalent, that women were as capable of learning as men, carefully instructed his daughters every evening, in the lessons which he had taught the king during the day; and amply were his labours rewarded; for he lived to see all his daughters happily married; and Lady Anne distinguished, not cnly for her conjugal and maternal virtues, but renowned as an excellent scholar, and the translator, from the Italian, of various sermons of Ochinus, a learned divine; and, from the Latin, of Bishop Jewel's Apologia, recommended by Archbishop Parker for general use.*

of all fortunes; when the nation had emerged from the dark superstitions of popery; when peace, throughout all Europe, permitted the enjoyment of foreign travel and free ingress to foreign scholars; and, above all, when a sovereign of the highest intellectual attainments, at the same time that she encouraged learning and learned men, gave an impulse to the arts, and a chivalric and refined tone to the manners of the people."

Bacon's health was always delicate, and his temperament was of such sensibility, as to be affected, even to fainting, by very slight alterations in the atmosphere; a constitutional infirmity which seems to have attended him through life.

While he was yet a child, the signs of genius, for which he was in after life distinguished, could not have escaped the notice of his intelligent parents. They must have been conscicus of his extraordinary powers, and of their responsibility that, upon the right direction of his mind, his future eminence, whether as a statesman or as a philosopher, almost wholly depended.

He was cradled in politics; he was not only the son of the lord keeper, but the nephew of Lord Burleigh. He had lived from his infancy amidst the nobility of the reign of Elizabeth, who was herself delighted, even in his childhood, to converse with him, and to prove him with questions, which he answered with a maturity above his years, and with such gravity that the queen would often call him her young lord keeper. Upon the queen's asking him, when a child, how old he was, he answered, "two years younger

It was his good fortune not only to be born of than your majesty's happy reign."

1 "He who cannot contract his sight as well as dilate it, wanteth a great faculty;" says Lord Bacon.

She translated from the Italian fourteen sermons concerning the predestination and election of God, without date, 8vo. See Watt's Bibliotheca Britannica, title, Ochinus and Anne Cooke.-N.B. .There is a publication entitled, "Sermons to the number of twenty-five, concerning the predestination." London: Printed by J. Day, without date, Bvo.-Query, If by Lady Bacon ?

a Ochinus Barnardin, an Italian monk of extraordinary merit, born at Sienna, 1487. Died 1594. Watts (S. A.) Jewel's Apologia translated by Anne Bacon, 1600, 1606, 1609, Fol. 1626, 12mo. 1685, 1719, 8vo. See Watts, tit. See Watts, tit. "Jewel." VOL. I.-(3)


But there were dawnings of genius of a much higher nature. When a boy, while his companions were diverting themselves near to his father's house in St. James's Park, he stole to the brick conduit to discover the cause of a singular 4 See Bacon's beautiful conclusion of Civil Knowledge, in the Advancement of Learning, p. 000.

5 See Paradise Regained, b. i. "When I was yet a child," &c.—See Burns: "I saw thee seek the sounding shore," &c.-See Beattie's Minstrel: &c.-See Beattie's Minstrel: "Baubles he heeded not, xvii




« AnteriorContinuar »