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the thought with which they are enriched was being deposited in Bacon's mind. No other English aphorist, unless it be Emerson, approaches Bacon in conveying the impression of classic style combined with such concentration and energy of thought. It is just in this suggestion of fine old sap and venerable experience within a narrow compass that his work recalls that of the sages of the antique world. Bacon was a natural hoarder of thought and phrase, of pith and marrow. Of the mere flowers of speech he was sparing and economical. Each essay then is a cluster of detached thoughts, sentences, and maxims, forming a collection of happy epigrams, apothegms, and lucky citations grouped under approximate headings. There is no elaboration of style, and very little order. Thoughts are put down, and left unsupported, unproved, undeveloped. Their vitality is due in the main to their unusual combination of sagacity, wit, and terseness. Some of the most prosperous sayings in the language are packed into these secular sermons. Secondarily it is due to the interesting duality of the man of letters and the man of the world, the idealist and the creature of shifts and expedients which is so deeply marked in this little great son of man.
No less supreme in the realm of history than the Essays in the sphere which they adorned, Bacon's History of Henry VII. simply towers above the other historical prose of this epoch. His greatness can be estimated when we compare the finished work with the raw material out of which it was fashioned-the chronicles, namely, of Fabyan, Polydore, Virgil, Hall, Holinshed, and Stow. Poor and incomplete though these materials were, Bacon succeeded so well that he has left later historians but little to do. Subsequent researches have but confirmed and illustrated the truth of his history in all its main features. The portrait of Henry as drawn by him is the original of all
the portraits which have been drawn since. The good stories of the reign, such as those of Morton's form, Empson's fixed determination to "cut another chop " (£720) out of Alderman Sir William Capel, Henry's rebuke to the Earl of Oxford, and Maximilian's method of marriage by proxy with Anne of Brittany, are all related. by Bacon, and it is amusing to trace how certain of his statements have been borrowed, perverted, and often disfigured by subsequent historical compilers. As compared with the dull, soulless, and uncritical compiling of his predecessors and contemporaries, the effect of Bacon's treatment of his materials resembled the bringing of a light into a dark room.
The movement of the narrative as a whole is rapid, and the style is singularly clear and unencumbered. Classical terms of phrase and words used in a strict classical or etymological sense (now obsolete) are much rarer than in the Essays. Long imaginary speeches put in the mouth. of the Chancellor and others occasionally betray Latin models such as Livy and Sallust. The episodes, especially those dealing with the adventures of the two Pretenders, Simnel and Warbeck (the King was haunted with spirits by the magic and curious arts of the Lady Margaret), the establishment of the Star Chamber, Henry's intervention in the affairs of Britain (Brittany), and the wily diplomacy on both sides which surrounded this event, are introduced with an abundance of art. A ripple of humour, albeit saturnine, is more conspicuous than in any other of Bacon's works. Pithy and poignant sayings, as is the rule in his work, keenly stimulate the zest of the 1 reader. But the reader's interest is primarily governed, as it should be, by the art with which Bacon gradually unfolds the character of his main figure, the monarch of whose nature his comprehension appears to be well-nigh perfect. Considered upon its own claims as an explana
tion of events by reference to the feelings and purposes of the chief actor, it is perhaps a better model than any history that has been published since.1
1 The magistral edition of Bacon's Works is that of Ellis and Spedding (7 vols., 1857); supplemented by Letters and Life, (7 vols., 1862-74). From this somewhat cumbrous Life Carlyle borrowed the plan of his Cromwell. A first-rate edition in one volume of The Philosophical Works was issued by Routledge in 1905 (ed. J. M. Robertson). This contains The Advancement of Learning, the Magna Instauratio, Novum Organum and De Augmentis (in English), The New Atlantis, Essays, Apothegms, and De Sapientia Veterum (also in translation); also minor fragments, virtually all, in fact, except Henry VII. The defects of Bacon's moral nature have perhaps been somewhat overstrained by Macaulay in his trenchant essay, by Dr. Abbott in his brilliant Francis Bacon: An Account of His Life and Work (1885), and to a less degree by Dean Church (1884) and Sidney Lee in Great Englishmen of the Sixteenth Century (1904). A more lenient view is taken by Spedding, Professor Nichol (1890), J. M. Robertson, and Dr. S. R. GardiMacaulay's theory of Bacon's character, which is little more than an amplification of Pope's hackneyed paradox as to the wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind, was subjected to a very destructive analysis by Spedding in Evenings with a Reviewer. Like Herbert Spencer, and like Pope, and to some extent like Coleridge or De Quincey, of course in very different ways, Bacon eludes our sympathy. His character is the more liable to be traduced. On the other hand, his position as a Pilot in matters of Science has been exaggerated. Of the great inventors and philosophers of his day, such as Harvey, Fabricius, Harriot, Kepler, Napier, Galileo, and Gilbert, he knew practically nothing. The discoverer of the circulation of the blood said of him that he wrote philosophy like a Lord Chancellor. Hallam said that he might have been the High Priest of Nature had be not been Lord Chancellor of James I. But he gave little evidence of this capacity. His famous method was an impossible Poets and literary critics have lauded it to the skies, but quite innocuously, for men of science have instinctively avoided it. Bacon thought that the secrets of Nature could be analysed and dissected like a great Cryptogram; and he thought quite genuinely that in his new Organum he had dis
covered the Clavis, for the use of the initiated. The great secret (the Inductive Method) was as old as Aristotle, or rather, very much older, since it implies that combined method of guessing and inference by which men have discovered almost everything that they know. It was well to deride dogma, deduction, convention, and other idols and obstructions to thought and progress. It was good to ponder on method, to argue for a better discipline in inference, and to plead for an open door to Inquiry in the widest possible sense. All this Bacon did memorably; but, when he came from the general to the particular, he paid the penalty of all who aspire to omniscience. In practical science he was far behind his own day. In prophetic vision of what Science might accomplish he is considerably ahead of 1906. We get an imaginative glimpse of this in his ultra-didactic and consequently somewhat grotesque but most attractively written New Atlantis (written about 1624-5, this popular fragment was published 1627). This wonderful island called the New Atlantis, lest we should confuse it with the great Atlantis (i. e. America), is situated, figuratively speaking, somewhere between More's Utopia and Swift's Laputa. The book forms a fitting epilogue to the Renaissance in England. In the counter-Renaissance that was impending Bacon would have been a strangely incongruous figure.
ELIZABETHAN AND JACOBEAN PROSE.-II
"O, eloquent, just, and mighty death! whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded; whom none hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world hath flattered, thou only hast cast out of the world and despised; thou hast drawn together all the far-stretched greatness, all the pride, cruelty, and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two narrow words, Hic jacet!"-History of the World.
Raleigh Stow- Holinshed
moirs and Diaries-Manningham-Sir Symonds D'EwesNaunton-Moryson-Hakluyt-Elizabethan son-Sidney's Defense and Johnson's Timber.
No history of the sixteenth or early seventeenth century approaches in modern interest the remarkable work of Bacon.
But apart from this the right of place must be accorded to the famous work of Raleigh, the brilliance of whose achievement as a man of action has thrown a kind of rainbow over his portentous History of the World-intended in the first instance as a portico to his History of England under the Great Queen. Of the England of that period Raleigh himself was a kind of epitome—as typical of his generation as Sidney was of his; even more versatile, a striking representative of the restless spirit of romantic adventure, mixed with cool practical enterprise that marked the time. Popular hero as he became after his death, in the heyday of his career Raleigh was a most unpopular favorite. His whole character seemed composed of opposites. As pedantic as Lord Herbert about his pedigree and his training in arms, a finished courtier,・・