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enter into a view and examination what parts of | lomon, "Dicit piger, Leo est in via," than that learning have been prosecuted, and what omitted: of Virgil, "Possunt quia posse videntur," I shall for the opinion of plenty is amongst the causes be content that my labours be esteemed but as the of want, and the great quantity of books maketh a show rather of superfluity than lack; which surcharge, nevertheless, is not to be remedied by making no more books, but by making more good books, which, as the serpent of Moses, might devour the serpents of the enchanters.
The removing of all the defects formerly enumerated, except the last, and of the active part also of the last, (which is the designation of writers,) are opera basilica;" towards which the endeavours of a private man may be but as an image in a crossway, that may point at the way, but cannot go it: but the inducing part of the latter, which is the survey of learning, may be set forward by private travel. Wherefore I will now attempt to make a general and faithful perambulation of learning, with an inquiry what parts thereof lie fresh and waste, and not improved and converted by the industry of man; to the end that such a plot, made and recorded to memory, may both minister light to any public designation, and also serve to excite voluntary endeavours: wherein, nevertheless, my purpose is, at this time, to note only omissions and deficiencies, and not to make any redargution of errors, or incomplete prosecutions; for it is one thing to set forth what ground lieth unmanured, and another thing to correct ill husbandry in that which is manured.
In the handling and undertaking of which work I am not ignorant what it is that I do now move and attempt, nor insensible of mine own weakness to sustain my purpose; but my hope is that if my extreme love to learning carry me too far, I may obtain the excuse of affection; for that "it is not granted to man to love and to be wise." But, I know well, I can use no other liberty of judgment than I must leave to others; and I, for my part, shall be indifferently glad either to perform myself, or accept from another, that duty of humanity: "Nam qui erranti comiter monstrat viam," &c. I do foresee, likewise, that of those things which I shall enter and register as deficiencies and omissions, many will conceive and censure that some of them are already done and extant; others to be but curiosities, and things of no great use; and others to be of too great difficulty, and almost impossibility to be compassed and effected: but for the two first, I refer myself to the particulars; for the last, touching impossibility, I take it those things are to be held possible which may be done by some person, though not by every one; and which may be done by many, though not by any one; and which may be done in the succession of ages, though not within the hourglass of one man's life; and which may be done by public designation, though not by private endeavour. But, notwithstanding, if any man will take to himself rather that of So
better sort of wishes; for as it asketh some knowledge to demand a question not impertinent, so it requireth some sense to make a wish not absurd.
The parts of human learning have reference to the three parts of Man's Understanding, which is the seat of learning: History to his Memory, Poesy to his Imagination, and Philosophy to his Reason. Divine learning receiveth the same distribution; for the spirit of man is the same, though the revelation of oracle and sense be diverse: so as theology consisteth also of the history of the church; of parables, which is divine poesy; and of holy doctrine or precept: for as for that part which seemeth supernumerary, which is prophecy, it is but divine history; which hath that prerogative over human, as the narration may be before the fact as well as after.
History is Natural, Civil, Ecclesiastical, and Literary; whereof the first three I allow as extant, the fourth I note as deficient. For no man hath propounded to himself the general state of learning to be described and represented from age to age, as many have done the works of nature, and the state civil and ecclesiastical; without which the history of the world seemeth to me to be as the statue of Polyphemus with his eye out: that part being wanting which doth most show the spirit and life of the person: and yet I am not ignorant that in divers particular sciences, as of the jurisconsults, the mathematicians, the rhetoricians, the philosophers, there are set down some small memorials of the schools, authors, and books; and so likewise some barren relations touching the invention of arts or usages. But a just story of learning, containing the antiquities and originals of knowledges and their sects. their inventions, their traditions, their diverse administrations and managings, their flourishings, their oppositions, decays, depressions, oblivions, removes, with the causes and occasions of them, and all other events concerning learning, throughout the ages of the world, I may truly affirm to be wanting. The use and end of which work I do not so much design for curiosity, or satisfaction of those that are the lovers of learning, but chiefly for a more serious and grave purpose; which is this, in few words, that it will make learned men wise in the use and administration of learning. For it is not St. Augustine's nor St. Ambrose's works that will make so wise a divine as ecclesiastical history, thoroughly read and observed; and the same reason is of learning.
History of Nature is of three sorts; of nature in course, of nature erring or varying, and of nature altered or wrought: that is, history of creatures, history of marvels, and history of arts, The first of these, no doubt, is extant, and that
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 For history of Nature wrought or mechanical, competent collection of the works of nature which I find some collections made of agriculture, and have a digression and deflexion from the ordinary likewise of manual arts; but commonly with a course of generations, productions, and motions; rejection of experiments familiar and vulgar. For whether they be singularities of place and region, it is esteemed a kind of dishonour unto learning or the strange events of time and chance, or the to descend to inquiry or meditation upon matters effects of yet unknown properties, or the instances mechanical, except they be such as may be thought of exception to general kinds. It is true, I find secrets, rarities, and special subtilties; which hua number of books of fabulous experiments and mour of vain and supercilious arrogancy is justly secrets, and frivolous impostures for pleasure derided in Plato; where he brings in Hippias, a and strangeness; but a substantial and severe vaunting sophist, disputing with Socrates, a true collection of the heteroclites or irregulars of na- and unfeigned inquisitor of truth; where the subture, well examined and described, I find not; ject being touching beauty, Socrates, after his especially not with due rejection of fables and po- wandering manner of inductions, put first an expular errors; for as things now are, if an untruth ample of a fair virgin, and then of a fair horse, in nature be once on foot, what by reason of the and then of a fair pot well glazed, whereat Hipneglect of examination, and countenance of anti-pias was offended, and said, "More than for quity, and what by reason of the use of the opinion in similitudes and ornaments of speech, it is never called down.
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 for inquisition of truth, as your majesty hath showed in your own example; who with the two clear eyes of religion and natural philosophy have looked deeply and wisely into these shadows, and yet proved yourself to be of the nature of the sun, which passeth through pollutions, and itself remains as pure as before. But this I hold fit, that these narrations, which have mixture with superstition, be sorted by themselves, and not be mingled with the narrations which are merely and sincerely natural. But as for the narrations touching the prodigies and miracles of religions, they are either not true, or not natu
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 commonwealth, first in a family, and the simple conjugations 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.
But if my judgment be of any weight, the use of History Mechanical is of all others the most radical and fundamental towards natural philosophy; such natural philosophy as shall not vanish in the fume of subtile, sublime, or delectable speculation, but such as shall be operative to the endowment and benefit of man's life: for it will not only minister and suggest for the present many ingenious practices in all trades, by a connexion and transferring of the observations of one art to the use of another, when the experiences of several mysteries shall fall under the consideration of one man's 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 some are defaced. So of histories we may find three kinds, Memorials, Perfect Histories, and Antiquities; for Memorials are history unfinished, or the first or rough draughts of history; and Antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time.
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 narration.
resorts thereof. But Lives, if they be well written, propounding to themselves a person to represent in whom actions both greater and smaller, public and private, have a commixture, must of necessity contain a more true, native, and lively representation. So again Narrations and relations of actions, as the War of Peloponnesus, 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 gence and observation, out of monuments, names, History. 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 and unprofitable dregs.
History, which may be called Just and Perfect History, is of three kinds, according to the object which it propoundeth, or pretendeth to represent: for it either representeth a time, or a person, or an action The first we call Chronicles, the second Lives, and the third Narrations or Relations. Of these, although the first be the most complete and absolute kind of history, and hath most estima
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 Rome;) and for Rome from Romulus to Justinianus, who may be truly said to be "ultimus Romanorum." In which sequences of story the text of Thucydides and Xenophon in the one, and the text of Livius, Polybius, Sallustius, Cæsar, Appianus, Tacitus, Herodianus in the other, to be kept entire without any diminution at all, and only to be supplied and continued. But this 19 matter of magnificence, rather to be commended than required: and we speak now of parts of
learning supplemental, and not of supereroga
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 tempest, full of working and swelling, though without extremity of storm: but well passed through by the wisdom of the pilot, being one of the most sufficient kings of all the number. Then followeth the reign of a king, whose actions, howsoever conducted, had much intermixture with the affairs of Europe, balancing and inclining them variably; in whose time also began that great alteration in the state ecclesiastical, an action which seldom cometh upon the stage. Then the reign of a minor: then an offer of an usurpation, though it was but as "febris ephemera:" then the reign of a queen matched with a foreigner: then of a queen that lived solitary 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 Eneas, "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
your majesty and your generations, (in which, I 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.
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,
"Animi nil magnæ laudis egentes;"
which opinion cometh from that root, "non prius laudes contempsimus, quam laudanda facere desivimus;" yet that will not alter Solomon's judg ment, "Memoria justi cum laudibus, at impiorum nomen putrescet:" the one flourisheth, the other either consumeth to present oblivion, or turneth to an ill odour. And therefore in that style or addition, which is and hath been long well received and brought in use, "felicis memoriæ, piæ memoriæ, bonæ memoriæ," we do acknowledge that which Cicero saith, borrowing it from Demosthenes, that "bona fama propria possessio defunctorum;" which possession I cannot but note that in our times it lieth much waste, and that therein there is a deficience.
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.
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, to intermingle matters of triumph or matters of ceremony, or matters of novelty, with matters of state. But the use of a journal hath not only been in the history of time, but likewise in the 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 day by day for we see the chronicle which was read before Ahasuerus, when he could not take rest, contained matters of affairs indeed, but such as had passed in his own time, and very lately before; but the journal of Alexander's house expressed every small particularity, even concerning his person and court; and it is yet a use well received in enterprises memorable, as expeditions of war, navigations, and the like, to keep diaries of that which passeth continually.
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.
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,
"Nosque ubi primus equis oriens afflavit anhelis,
Illic sera rubens accendit lumina Vesper:"
yet that might be by demonstration, and not in fact: and if by travel, it requireth the voyage but of half the globe. But to circle the earth, as the heavenly bodies do, was not done nor enterprised till these latter times: and therefore these times may justly bear in their word, not only " plus ultra," in precedence of the ancient "non ultra," and "imitabile fulmen” in precedence of the ancient "non imitabile fulmen,"
"Demens qui nimbos et non imitabile fulmen;" &c. but likewise "imitabile cœlum ;" in respect of the many memorable voyages, after the manner of heaven, about the globe of the earth.
And this proficience in navigation and discoveries may plant also an expectation of the further proficience and augmentation of all sciences; because it may seem they are ordained by God to be coevals, that is, to meet in one age. For so the prophet Daniel, speaking of the latter times, fortelleth, "Plurimi pertransibunt, et multiplex erit scientia:" as if the openness and thorough passage of the world and the increase of knowledge were appointed to be in the same ages: as we see it is already performed in great part: the learning of these latter times not much giving place to the former two periods or returns of learning, the one of the Grecians, the other of the Romans.
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 parts 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;