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Shirley, the last of the race, belongs to the succeeding chapter. (See p. 101, s. 72.)

42. The Prose Writers: Ascham.-After Berners' Translation of Froissart and Sir Thomas More's History of Edward V., the next English prose works of importance are the Toxophilus, 1545, and Scholemaster, 1570, of Roger Ascham (1515–68), successively Tutor to the Princess (afterwards Queen) Elizabeth, Secretary of Embassy under Edward VI., and Latin Secretary to Queen Mary and her successor. The former work, sub-titled The Schole of Shoting, is a treatise written dialogue-wise' between Toxophilus and Philologus-lovers of archery and learning-upon the English long-bow, the use of which had been extended and enforced by statutes of Henry VIII.; but the ostensible purpose of the book is often abandoned for moral digressions. The Scholemaster is further defined as a 'plaine and perfite way of teachyng children to understand, write, and speake, in Latin tong,' specially designed for private tuition. A third work, the Cockpitte, a defence of that pastime, if ever published, is now lost. One of Ascham's first merits lies in this that, deserting the learned languages, he chose to discuss an Englishe matter in the Englishe tongue, for Englishe men.' *


43. Lyly.—The name of John Lyly (1553–1606) has already been mentioned among Shakespeare's predecessors (see p. 61, s. 39). It must be recalled now as one, if not eminent, at least noteworthy among the Elizabethan prose-writers. The high fantastical' conceits and 'gallant tropes' of Euphues; The Anatomy of Wit, 1579, and its sequel Euphues and his England, 1580, have passed so completely out of date that their great contemporary popularity can be explained now only by a supposition that they led a fashion. To the gallants and Court beauties, whose accomplishment and merit it was to 'parley Euphueisme,' not differing greatly from the language of Don Adrian de Armado in Love's Labour's Lost, or Fastidious Brisk in Every Man out of his Humour (the 'Sir Piercie Shafton' of Scott being an acknowledged caricature), Lyly's Euphues was the breviary and text-book. But when the fashion passed away, the text-book fell into disuse so complete, that, for a long period, it has seldom been mentioned without ridicule. This it has not entirely deserved. 'In spite of occasional tediousness and pedantry,' says Canon Kingsley, it is 'as brave, righteous, and pious a book as a man may look into, and [I] wish for no better proof of the nobleness and virtue of the Elizabethan age, than the fact that Euphues

* v. Toxophilus and The Scholemaster, Arber's Reprints. See Appendix A, Extract XXII.

and the Arcadia [see p. 52, s. 34] were the two popular romances of the day.'* Euphues has been reprinted by Mr. Arber.

44. Hooker, Raleigh.—To the already-mentioned prose-writers of the sixteenth century must now be added the illustrious author of those famous Eight Books of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, for which the antagonism of Anglicanism and Puritanism that agitated the latter half of Elizabeth's reign furnished the motive. A poor man's son, the boyish abilities of Richard Hooker (1554–1600) acquired for him the protection of Bishop Jewel, of Salisbury, at whose charges, and those of a rich uncle, he was sent, about 1567, to Oxford. In 1577 he became M.A. and Fellow of his College. In 1581-5 he was appointed Master of the Temple, his colleague being a certain Travers, who inclined to the Calvinistic tenets which Hooker disapproved. Consequently, 'the pulpit of the Temple,' says Fuller, 'spake pure Canterbury in the morning, and Geneva in the afternoon;' and this conflict of opinion originated the abovementioned weighty and vigorous defence of the ritual and ceremonies of the English Church—a work unrivalled in our prose for its sonorous amplitude and dignity, and worthy, in all other respects, of the sweetest and most conciliatory of men, [and] the most solid and persuasive of logicians.' To finish and elaborate this great work, Hooker relinquished his Mastership, in 1591, for the living of Boscombe, whence, in 1595, he removed to Bishopsborne, where he died. Five only of the Eight Books' came complete from their author's hand. The first four, finished at Boscombe, were published in 1593-4; the fifth in 1597. What are called the remaining books were not given to the world until years after his death.



Sir Egerton Bridges collected (in 1813) some of the poems of the ill-fated Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), praised by Puttenham (Art of English Poesie) for their 'most loftie, insolent [unusual], and passionate vayne'; but his literary glory rests more securely upon the History of the World to the end of the Macedonian Empire, 1614, which he composed during his thirteen years' imprisonment in the Tower after the discovery of the Main Plot. The Greek and Roman story,' says Mr. Hallam, 'is [here] told more fully and exactly than by any earlier English author, and with a plain eloquence which has given this book a classical reputation in our language, though from its length, and the want of that critical sifting of facts which we now justly demand, it is not greatly read.' § Another of Raleigh's prose works is his Discovery of the large, rich, + Worthies, 1840, i. 423. Taine, Eng. Literature (Van Laun's trans.), 1872, i. 380. § Lit. History, 1864, iii. 373.

Westward Ho! 1865, chap. viii.

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and beautiful Empire of Guiana, 1596, a personal record of his South-American experiences.

45. Bacon.—The remarks which prefaced the account of Shakespeare in this chapter (see p. 62, s. 40) apply equally to Francis Bacon (1561-1626). He was the youngest son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, to which dignity he himself afterwards succeeded,

'the destined heir, In his soft cradle, to his father's chair,'*



as Ben Jonson writes, referring to the youthful precocity and vivacity which attracted to the boy from 'greatest Gloriana' herself the title of the young Lord-keeper.' In 1573, he went to Cambridge. After leaving college he visited France, in the train of Sir Amyas Paulet Ambassador Lieger.' 'Being returned from travel,' says his chaplain Rawley, he applied himself to the study of the Common Law, which he took upon him to be his profession.'† In 1593, he sat as member for Middlesex; in 1603, he was knighted by King James; and then became successively King's Counsel (1604), Solicitor-General (1607), Attorney-General (1613), Counsellor of State (1616), Lord Keeper (1617), Baron of Verulam (1618), Lord Chancellor (1619), and Viscount St. Albans (1620-1). Then came the check to this rapid progression. In 1621, he was charged with taking presents from suitors in Chancery. He pleaded guilty, was sentenced to a heavy fine and other punishments, from which he was afterwards released. 'The last five years of his life,' says Rawley, 'being withdrawn from civil affairs and from an active life, he employed wholly in contemplation and studies.'

As a man, Bacon has been equally censured and excused; and the vexed question of his conduct towards his protector, Essex, or the exact amount of his culpability in the case above referred to, are not likely to be settled satisfactorily. Meanwhile-to use the mild verdict of one writer-he was, probably, 'not without weaknesses of character.' But, considered from a literary point of view, there can be little doubt of his pre-eminence. Hee seem'd to mee ever, by his worke—say Jonson's loving words—'one of the greatest men, and most worthy of admiration, that had beene in many Ages. In his adversity I ever prayed, that God would give him strength: for Greatnesse hee could not want.' §

The prevailing philosophy at the beginning of the Elizabethan era

* Underwoods: Lord Bacon's Birthday.

† Rawley in Spedding, i. 5.

Rawley in Spedding, i. 8.
Timber: Lord St. Albane.

was that of Aristotle. To this, or rather to the degradation of this, Bacon had early conceived a dislike—not for the worthlessness of the author, to whom he would ever ascribe all high attributes, but for the unfruitfulness of the way; being a philosophy, . . . only strong for disputations and contentions, but barren of the production of works for the benefit of the life of man.'* And indeed, in Bacon's day, its infertility-in the form of scholasticism-had become manifest. It was perishing for lack of vitality, powerless to cope with progressive forces and independent thought. For the outworn procedures of à priori reasoning, Bacon suggested the substitution of another method, that of à posteriori investigation by observation and experiment. His merit lies in his indication of this, now generally denominated the Baconian or Inductive Method, as opposed to the Deductive Method of Aristotle. 'He raised experience, which hitherto had been only matter of chance, into a separate and independent object of thought;' and 'he awoke a general consciousness of its indispensable necessity.' It has been said that he did not so much apply the principles of the new Philosophy as propose them. Nevertheless, like Moses on Mount Pisgah-to use the illustration of Cowley-it was his privilege first to behold the Promised Land; and, this being so, it seems profitless to inquire, at this date, whether, without a Bacon, the Inductive Method would have originated in England.

The outline of the new Philosophy has been sketched by its projector in a grand group of works, to which he gave the general title of Instauratio Magna-or 'Great Institution' of the Sciences. Of this, the six sections, given in the Distributio Operis prefixed to the Novum Organum, ‡ are as follow:

I. Partitiones Scientiarum.-This was to be a survey of then existing knowledge, and to it belongs the treatise De Augmentis Scientiarum, of which nine books were published in 1623. It is a translation, with large additions, of the author's previous work in English On the Advancement of Learning, 1605.

II. Novum Organum, or Indicia de Interpretatione Natura.-This so-called New Instrument of Philosophy' is an exposition of the Inductive Method, in two books, first published in 1620. It was valued by its author above all his other works, and was revised, altered, and corrected no less than twelve times. But even this is incomplete.

* Rawley in Spedding, i. 4.

+ Schwegler's Hist. of Philosophy, by Stirling, 1868, 152.

Bacon's Works, Ellis and Spedding, i. 71, 134. Preface to Novum Organum.

III. Phænomena Universi, or Historia Naturalis et Experimentalis ad condendam Philosophiam.—These were to be the materials for the new method. Histories of the Winds, 1622,-of Life and Death, 1623, -of Density and Rarity, 1658; the treatise called Sylva Sylvarum, 1627, and a few prefaces, are the only works extant which can be properly classed in this section of the Instauratio.

IV. Scala Intellectus.-This was to contain examples of the operation and results of the method. Nothing exists of it but a preface.

V. Prodromi, or Anticipationes Philosophiæ Secundæ.—This was to contain 'anticipations of the new philosophy,' i.e., facts established without the aid of the Baconian method, by which they were subsequently to be tested. Nothing remains of this section but a


VI. Philosophia Secunda, or Scientia Activa.—This was to be 'the result of the application of the new method to all the phenomena of the universe.' [Ellis.]

Such is this great conception, the importance and significance of which are evident. That it was only a half-executed conception, as the preceding list will show, is not surprising. If one man only could have sketched the plan, it was not in one man's power (even though that man were Bacon) to bring it to completion. He himself speaks of Sect. vi. as a task beyond his strength and hopes'et supra vires et ultra spes nostras collocata;'* and, in the most finished work of the series—the Novum Organum, he reached but the threshold of his theme.

The chief of Bacon's remaining works, in the order of their publication, are his Essayes, or Counsels, Civill and Morall (1597–1624), compressed extracts of experience, the depth and suggestiveness of which are too well known for further comment; the Wisdom of the Ancients, 1609, in which the author endeavours to explain the allegory which he believes to be concealed in many of the ancient fables; † the Book of Apophthegms, 1625; the Elements of the Laws of England, 1636; the History of Henry VII.; and the unfinished fable of the New Atlantis, 1635, to which Rawley refers, as devised by its author to the end that he might exhibit therein a model or description of a College, instituted for the interpreting of Nature, and the producing of great and marvellous works for the benefit of man.' (See also p. 46, s. 27).

46. Burton, Selden, Lord Herbert.-A writer, who, according to his epitaph at Oxford, consecrated his life to the gloomiest of all sciences, has left a singular tribute to his ruling passion in the * Distributio Operis.

tv. Preface.

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