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182 DISTRIBUTION OF RICHES From Shake-speare

From Bacon Gloucester. Here, take this “Of great riches there is no real purse ...

use, except it be in distribution.” So distribution should undo excess, Essay of Riches (1607–12). And each man have enough.”

King Lear, iv. 1 (1608).


NOT EVERY CLOUD A STORM “Every cloud engenders not a “Every vapor or fume doth

not turn into a storm.” — Essay of 3 Henry VI., v. 3 (1623). Seditions and Troubles (1625).


In both passages, as Mr. Wigston notes, the storms referred to under this metaphor are political.


WIND-CHANGING WARWICK “Wind-changing Warwick now “ It is commonly seen that men, can change no more.”

once placed, take in with the con8 Henry VI., v. 1 (1623). trary faction to that by which they

enter, thinking belike that they have the first sure, and now are ready for a new purchase." Essay of Faction (1597).

It is very probable that Bacon had Warwick's career in mind when he wrote the above sentence (the first part of it in 1597 and the latter part for the third edition of his Essays in 1625); for that was the most conspicuous instance of "wind-changing " that had happened down to that period in the history of England. He amplified the thought still more in the Latin edition, thus : “they have been long sure of the goodwill and zeal of the other faction, and so prepare themselves to gain new friends.”

The word “purchase” is used by Bacon, as it frequently is by Shake-speare, in its strictly legal sense, of acquisition

by any method other than inheritance. To purchase a thing is to pay an equivalent for it; and in one way or another, excepting in the case of an inheritance, a man pays for everything he acquires. Even a theft has its price.

185 BELLEROPHON'S LETTERS From Shake-speare

From Bacon Hamlet. Up from my cabin, “Bellerophon's letters (producMy sea-gown scarfd about me, in ing letters or evidence against the dark

oneself).” - Promus (1594-96). Grop'd I to find out them ; had my

desire; Finger'd their packet; and, in fine,

withdrew To mine own room again, making

so bold, My fears forgetting manners, to

unseal Their grand commission ; where I

found, O royal knavery! an exact com

mand, Larded with many several sorts of

Importing Denmark's health, and

England's too,
With, hol such bugs and goblins

in my life, —
That on the supervise, no leisure

bated, No, not to stay the grinding of the

axe, My head should be struck off.”

Hamlet, v. 2 (1604). Bellerophon, having committed an offence at the court at Argos and being protected from punishment there by the rites of hospitality, was sent away to the king of Lycia with a sealed letter, in which the king was requested to put the bearer to death. Such letters were thence called “ Bellerophon's Letters.” Bacon's entry of these words in his Promus was made to remind him of this device in correspondence for use in his writings. No other hint of a letter of this kind can be found in all his works, unless the perfect example of it in 'Hamlet' be his.


WORDS AND MATTER Polonius. What do you read, my “Here, then, is the first distemlord ?

per of learning, when men study Hamlet. Words, words, words. words, and not matter." — AdPol. What is the matter, my lord ? vancement of Learning (1603-5). Ham. Between who? Pol. I mean, the matter that you read, my lord ?

Hamlet, ii. 2 (1604). “ This matter of marrying his king's daughter . . . words him, I doubt not, a great deal from the matter." — Cymbeline, i. 5 (1623).


WRITING FOR THE FUTURE “Not marble, nor the gilded mon- “I must confess my desire to be uments

that my writings should not court Of princes, shall outlive this power the present time, or some few ful rhyme;

places, in such sort as might make But you shall shine more bright in them either less general to persons, these contents

or less permanent in future ages.” Than unswept stone, besmear'd Letter to Sir Toby Matthew with sluttish time.

(1609). When wasteful war shall statues

overturn, And broils root out the work of

masonry, Nor Mars his sword, nor war's

quick fire shall burn The living record of your memory. 'Gainst death and all-oblivious en


Shall you pace forth ; your praise

shall still find room, E'en in the eyes of all posterity That wear this world out to the ending doom.”

Sonnet 55 (1609). No comment on Shake-speare has been more often or more approvingly quoted than one of Jonson's : “he (Shakespeare] was not of an age, but for all time.” How exactly these words also describe Bacon's literary ambition, as above expressed !

From Shake-speare

From Bacon “There's such divinity doth wall “God hath implanted such a a king

majesty in the face of a prince that That treason dares not look on." no private man dare approach the Hamlet, iv. 5 (1603). person of his sovereign with a

traitorous intent." — Speech at Trial of Essex (1601).


“It is a tale “It is nothing else but words, Told by an idiot, full of sound and which rather sound than signify fury,

anything." Signifying nothing."

Macbeth, v. 5 (1623).


A MURDERED MAN'S WOUNDS BLEEDING AFRESH “ If thou delight to view thy hein- “If the body of one murdered ous deeds,

be brought before the murderer, Behold this pattern of thy butcher- the wounds will bleed afresh.” — ies.

Natural History (1622–25). 0! gentlemen, see, see! dead

Henry's wounds Open their congeald mouths and bleed afresh."

Richard III., i. 2 (1597).

In his prose treatment of this subject Bacon makes several points that are not alluded to in Shake-speare, and that must have come from independent sources, thus:

"Some do affirm that the dead body, upon the presence of the murderer, hath opened the eyes; and that there have been such like motions, as well, where the party murdered hath been strangled or drowned, as where they have been killed by wounds."

He makes the same superstition the subject of an apothegm:

“A lover met his lady in a close chair, she thinking to go unknown. He came and spake to her. She asked him — 'how did you know me?' He said, “because my wounds bleed afresh.'"

From Shake-speare

From Bacon “ There was a time when all the “In this they fall into the error body's members

described in the ancient fable, in Rebell'd against the belly; thus which the other parts of the body accused it :

did suppose the stomach had been That only like a gulf it did remain idle, because it neither performed l'the midst of the body, idle and the office of motion, as the limbs inactive,

do, nor of sense, as the head doth ; Still cupboarding the viand, never but yet, notwithstanding, it is the bearing

stomach that digesteth and distribLike labor with the rest, where the uteth to all the rest.” – Advanceother instruments

ment of Learning (1603-5). Did see and hear, devise, instruct,

walk, feel, And, mutually participate, did

minister Unto the appetite and affection

common Of the whole body.”

Coriolanus, i. 1 (1623). Found in Plutarch (1579), and in Sir Philip Sidney's * Apology for Poetry'(1581). "Coriolanus' was probably written sometime between 1612 and 1619; first printed in 1623.

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