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that they are indeed a new work. I thought it therefore agreeable to my affection and obligation to your Grace, to prefix your name before them, both in English and in Latin. For I do conceive that the Latin volume of them (being in the universal language) may last as long as books last."

The letter to Dr. Andrews, Bishop of Winchester, dedicatory to "An Advertisement touching an Holy War" (1622) contains the fullest account of Bacon's designs as a writer which we have from his own pen. He writes: "As for my Essays, and some other particulars of that nature, I count them but as the recreation of my other studies, and in that sort purpose to continue them; though I am not ignorant that those kind of writings would with less pains and embracement (perhaps) yield more lustre and reputation unto my name than those other which I have in hand. But I account the use that a man should seek of the publishing of his own writings before his death to be but an untimely anticipation of that which is proper to follow a man, and not go along with him."

Of the translation of the Essays into Latin, Bacon thus speaks in a letter to Mr. Toby Matthew, written apparently about the end of June 1623: "It is true my labours are now most set to have those Works which I have formerly published, as that of Advancement of Learning,' that of Henry VII.,' that of the Essays,' being retractate and made more perfect, well translated into Latin by the help of some good pens which forsake me not. For these modern languages will, at one time or other, play the bankrupt with books;


and since I have lost much time with this age, I would be glad, as God shall give me leave, to recover it with posterity."

"The essayist does not usually appear early in the literary history of a country," wrote a charming essayist:1"he comes naturally after the poet and the chronicler. His habit of mind is leisurely; he does not write from any special stress of passionate impulse; he does not create material so much as he comments upon material already existing. It is essential for him that books should have been written, and that they should, at least to some extent, have been read and digested. He is usually full of allusions and references, and these his reader must be able to follow and understand. And in this literary walk, as in most others, the giants came first. Montaigne and Bacon were our earliest essayists, and as yet they are our best. In point of style, these Essays are different from any thing that could now be produced. Not only is the thinking different: the manner of setting forth the thinking is different also. We despair of reaching the thought, we despair equally of reaching the language. We can no more bring back their turns of sentence than we can bring back their tournaments. Montaigne, in his serious moods, has a curiously rich and intricate eloquence; and Bacon's sentence bends beneath the weight of his thought, like a branch beneath the weight of its fruit.

1 The late Alexander Smith.

Bacon seems to have written his Essays with Shakespeare's pen. He writes like one on whom presses the weight of affairs, and he approaches a subject always on its serious side. He does not play with it fantastically. He lives among great ideas, as with great nobles, with whom he dare not be too familiar. In the tone of his mind there is ever something imperial. When he writes on building, he speaks of a palace, with spacious entrances and courts and banqueting-halls; when he writes on gardens, he speaks of alleys and mounts, waste places and fountains, of a garden which is indeed prince-like.' To read over his table of contents is like reading over a roll of peers' names. We have taken them as they stand, Essays treating Of Great Place,' 'Of Boldness,' Of Goodness, and Goodness of Nature,' 'Of Nobility,' Of Seditions and Troubles,' 'Of Atheism,' Of Superstition,' Of Travel,' Of Empire,' 'Of Counsel,' — a book plainly to lie in the closets of statesmen and princes, and designed to nurture the noblest natures."





In writing the Notes, I have made free use of the late Mr. Singer's and Mr. Wright's elegant editions of the Essays, and of the great Ellis, Spedding, and Heath edition of Bacon's Works, London 1857-1859, printed and noted with exquisite taste and profound learning.

BOSTON, June 1867.


HAVING been accustomed to write down, from time to

time, such observations as occurred to me on several of Bacon's Essays, and also to make references to passages in various books which relate to the same subjects, I have been induced to lay the whole before the Public in an edition of these Essays. And in this I have availed myself of the assistance of a friend, who, besides offering several valuable suggestions, kindly undertook the task of revising and arranging the loose notes I had written down, and adding, in footnotes, explanations of obsolete words and phrases. These notes are calculated, I think, to throw light on the language not only of Bacon's Essays, but also of our Authorized Version of the Scriptures, which belongs to the same Age. There are, in that language, besides some few words that are now wholly obsolete, many times more (as is remarked in the 'Annotations' on Essay XXIV.), which are now as commonly in use as ever, but with a change in their meaning, which makes them far more likely to mislead than those quite obsolete.

In order to guard against the imputation of presumption in venturing to make additions to what Bacon has said on several subjects, it is necessary to call attention to the circumstance that the word ESSAY has been considerably changed in its application since the days of Bacon. By an Essay was originally meant-according to the obvious and natural sense of the word—a slight sketch, to be filled up by the reader; brief hints, designed to be followed out; loose thoughts on some subjects, thrown out without much regularity, but sufficient to suggest further inquiries and reflections. Any more elaborate, regular, and finished composition, such as, in our days, often bears the title of an Essay, our ancestors called a treatise, tractate, dissertation, or discourse. But the more unpretending title

of 'Essay' has in great measure superseded those others which were formerly in use, and more strictly appropriate.

I have adverted to this circumstance because it ought to be remembered, that an Essay, in the original and strict sense of the word, an Essay such as Bacon's, and also Montaigne's,was designed to be suggestive of further remarks and reflections, and, in short, to set the reader a-thinking on the subject. It consisted of observations loosely thrown out, as in conversation; and inviting, as in conversation, the observations of others on the subject. With an Essay, in the modern sense of the word, it is not so. If the reader of what was designed to be a regular and complete treatise on some subject (and which would have been so entitled by our forefathers) makes additional remarks on that subject, he may be understood to imply that there is a deficiency and imperfection—a something wanting—in the work before him; whereas, to suggest such further remarksto give outlines that the reader shall fill up for himself is the very object of an Essay, properly so called-such as those of Bacon. A commentary to explain or correct, few writings need less: but they admit of, and call for, expansion and development. They are gold ingots, not needing to be gilt or polished, but requiring to be hammered out in order to display their full value.

He is, throughout, and especially in his Essays, one of the most suggestive authors that ever wrote. And it is remarkable that, compressed and pithy as the Essays are, and consisting chiefly of brief hints, he has elsewhere condensed into a still smaller compass the matter of most of them. In his Rhetoric he has drawn up what he calls 'Antitheta,' or common-places, 'locos,' i.e., pros and cons,-opposite sentiments and reasons, on various points, most of them the same that are discussed in the Essays. It is a compendious and clear mode of bringing before the mind the most important points in any question, to place in parallel columns, as Bacon has done, whatever can be plausibly urged, fairly or unfairly, on opposite sides; and then you are in the condition of a judge who has to decide some cause after

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