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What raging of the sea, shaking of
earth, Commotion in the winds ! ” Troilus and Cressida, i. 3 (1609).
From Bacon “ Brutus. Ha! who comes here? “As in infection and contagion I think it is the weakness of mine from body to body it is most cereyes
tain that the infection is received That shapes this monstrous appari- by the body passive, but yet is by tion.
the strength and good disposition It comes upon me. Art thou any thereof repulsed and wrought out thing?
before it is formed into a disease; Art thou some god, some angel, or so much the more in impressions some devil,
from mind to mind, or from spirit That mak'st my blood cold and my to spirit, the impression taketh, but hair to stare ?
is encountered and overcome by Speak to me what thou art. the mind and spirit, which is pasGhost. Thy evil spirit, Brutus. sive, before it work any manifest Brutus. Why comest thou? effect.” — Sylva Sylvarum (1622– Ghost. To tell thee thou shalt see 25).
me at Philippi.
[Ghost vanishes. Now I have taken heart, thou
This story is told by Plutarch, as follows:
“He thought he heard one come unto him and casting his eye towards the door of his tent, he saw a wonderful strange and monstrous shape of a body coming towards him and said never a word. So Brutus boldly asked what he was, a God or a man, and wbat cause brought him thither. The spirit answered him, “I am thy evil spirit, Brutus, and thou shalt see me by the City of Philippes.' Brutus being no otherwise afraid replied again unto it — well, then, I shall see thee again.' The spirit presently vanished away."
It appears now, as Mr. James very cleverly points out, that Shake-speare's account of this apparition differs in one important particular from Plutarch's; namely, it represents Brutus as at first affected by fear, and then, on recovery from the fear, immediately losing sight of his unwelcome visitor. That is, the ghost, being simply the creature of a disordered imagination, fled as soon as the mind of Brutus resumed its natural courage. This result is in exact accordance with Bacon's definition, as given above.
From Bacon “Be these juggling fiends no more “As divers wise judges have believed,
prescribed and cautioned, men That palter with us in a double may not too rashly believe the sense;
confessions of witches, nor yet the That keep the word of promise to evidence against them. For the our ear,
witches themselves are imaginaAnd break it to our hope.”
tive, and believe oft-times they do Macbeth, v. 7 (1623). that which they do not.” — Nat
ural History (1622–25).
At the time when the drama of ‘Macbeth’was written, the crusade against witchcraft had reached its height, the king himself having recently inflicted the most terrible punishments upon a man in Scotland who was condemned for having raised a tempest in the North Sea and thus endangered the king's life. The drama is an admirable example of Bacon's method of combating popular delusions, as laid down in his preface to the Wisdom of the Ancients':
“Even now, if any one wish to let new light on any subject into men's minds, and that without offence or harshness, he must still go the same way (as that of the ancient poets) and call in the aid of similitudes."
The term similitudines would include such a work as the drama of Macbeth.'
RRELLING OVER TRIFLES
From Bacon “ Gregory. I will frown as I pass “Life is grown too cheap in these by, and let them take it as they times, and every petty scorn or dislist.
grace can have no other reparation Sampson. Nay, as they dare. I (than with the sword]. Nay, so will bite my thumb at them; many men's lives are taken away which is a disgrace to them, if with impunity, that the life of the they bear it.
law is almost taken away." — Abraham. Do you bite your Charge against Duelling (1613). thumb at us, sir ?
“Men have almost lost the Samp. I do bite my thumb, sir. true notion and understanding of
Abr. Do you bite your thumb fortitude and valor. A man's life at us, sir ?
is not to be trifled with ; it is to Samp. No, sir; I do not bite my be offered up and sacrificed to thumb at you, sir; but I bite my honorable services, public merits, thumb, sir.
good causes, and noble adventures."
- Ibid. Abr. You lie. Samp. Draw, if you be men.
Prince. What ho! you men, you
beasts, That quench the fire of your perni
cious rage With purple fountains issuing from
Romeo and Juliet, i. 1 (1597). “ Thou ! why, thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath a hair more or a hair less in his beard than thou hast. ... Thou hast quarrelled with a man for coughing in the street, because he hath awakened thy dog that hath lain asleep in the sun. Didst thou not fall out with a tailor for wearing his new doublet before Easter? With another, for tying his new shoes with old ribbon ? ” — Ibid., iii. 1.
THE PROUD MAN DEVOURING HIMSELF
From Bacon “ Achilles. Patroclus, I'll speak “Those that want friends to open with nobody.
themselves unto are cannibals of
their own hearts." — Essay of Agamemnon. He that is proud eats Friendship (1625).
up himself.” Troilus and Cressida, ü. 3 (1609).
A MONARCH NOT ACCOUNTABLE TO OTHERS “What subject can give sentence “Her majesty, being imperial on his king ?
and immediate under God, was
not holden to render account of Shall the figure of God's majesty, her actions to any." — Proceedings His captain, steward, deputy elect, against Essex (1600). Anointed, crowned, planted many
years, Be judg'a by subject and inferior breath ? "
Richard II., iv. 1 (1597).
On no subject were Bacon and Shake-speare more fully agreed than on the divine prerogatives of a king or queen.
WATCHMEN “ Watchman. Well, masters, we “ Question. How long is their hear our charge; let us go sit here office ? upon the church-bench till two, Answer. The office of constable and then all to bed.
is annual, except they be removed.
Question. Of what rank or order Dogberry. Goodman Verges, sir, of men are they? speaks a little off the matter, an Answer. They be men, as it is old man, sir, and his wits are not now used, of inferior, yea, of base so blunt as, God help, I would de- condition.” — The Office of Consire they were; but, in faith, honest stable (1608). as the skin between his brows.
Verges. Yes, I thank God I am
as honest as any man living that is
In his paper on Constables from which we have quoted, Bacon emphasizes the fact that these officers of the law ought not to be aged men, one of the points upon which Shakespeare lavishes his fun. We seem to find in the play a clear case of instruction by example.
FORGIVENESS BETTER THAN VENGEANCE
From Bacon “ Kindness, nobler ever than re- “In taking revenge, a man is venge.”
but even with his enemy; but in As You Like It, iv. 3 (1623). passing it over, he is superior. ... “ Though with their high wrongs I Some, when they take revenge, are
am struck to the quick, desirous the party should know Yet, with my nobler reason, 'gainst whence it cometh. This the more my fury
generous. For the delight seemeth Do I take part. The rarer action is to be, not so much in doing the hurt, In virtue than in vengeance; they as in making the party repent." being penitent,
Essay of Revenge (1625). The sole drift of my purpose doth “One who does the wrong is the extend
aggressor; he who returns it, the Not a frown further. Go, release protractor."-De Augmentis (1622). them, Ariel.”
Tempest, v. 1 (1623). “Who by repentance is not satis
fied, Is not of heaven nor earth." Two Gentlemen of Verona, iv. 1
(1623). Bacon's inculcation of the duty of forgiveness, which is so emphatically reproduced in the Shake-speare Plays, was fully exemplified in his own life. Sir Toby Matthew says of him: “I can truly say that I never saw in him any trace of a vindictive mind, whatever injury was done him, nor ever heard him utter a word to any man's disadvantage which seemed to proceed from personal feeling against the man.”