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60
HARMONY OF THE SPHERES
From Shake-speare

From Bacon Launcelot. Sit, Jessica; look how “It was Plato's opinion that all the floor of heaven

knowledge is but remembrance, Is thick inlaid with patines of and that the mind of man by bright gold;

nature knoweth all things, and There's not the smallest orb which bath but her own native and origthou behold'st

inal motions (which by the But in his motion like an angel strangeness and darkness of this sings,

tabernacle of the body are seStill quiring to the young-eyed questered) again revived." — Ad. Cherubins;

vancement of Learning (1603-5). Such harmony is in immortal “The pipe of seven reeds [borne souls;

by Pan] plainly denotes the harBut, whilst this muddy vesture of mony and consent of things, caused decay

by the motion of the seven planets. Doth grossly close it in, we can. ... If there be any lesser planets not hear it.”

which are not visible, or any Merchant of Venice, v. 1 (1600). greater change in the heavens (as

in some superlunary comets), it seems they are as pipes either entirely mute or vocal only for a season ; inasmuch as their influences either do not approach 80 low as ourselves, or do not long interrupt the harmony of the seven pipes of Pan.” — De Augmentis (1622).

It is the integument of our bodies, Shakespeare says in effect, that prevents our perceiving the harmonious motions of the stars; it is also the integument of our bodies, says Bacon, that shuts out from our memory those motions of the spirit which we had in a previous state of existence. Bacon deliberately used here the word motion to describe what it is that the body excludes; but editors of his works, even including Mr. Spedding, have ignorantly substituted for it the word notion. The parallel passage in the play justifies us in

restoring the original text. In Bacon's philosophy discord and concord are natural results of motion.

Indeed, both authors make occasional use of the word motion in a very peculiar philosophical sense, applying it, as occasion may require and to the despair of commentators, to every possible impulse or movement, mental and physical, in the whole realm of created things. In Bacon :

“The light of nature consisteth in the motions (that is, intuitions] of the mind and the reports of the senses." — Advancement of Learning.

Motions changed to notions by modern editors. In Shake-speare:

“ Yet in the number I do know but one

That, unassailable, holds on bis rank,
Unshak'd of motion."

Julius Cæsar, ii. 1. “ Read, Unshak'd of notion.” — UPTON's Critical Observations on Shakespeare, p. 229.

“ The reasons of our state I cannot yield,

But like a common and an outward man,
That the great figure of a council frames
By self-unable motion."

Al's Well, iii. 1. “ Read notion ; that is, from his own ideas. A printer might easily mistake motion for notion.” - Prebendary Upton, p. 230.

61
THE WIND, A BROOM
From Shake-speare

From Bacon Puck. I am sent with broom “To the earth the winds are before,

brooms; they sweep and cleanse To sweep the dust behind the it.- History of the Winds (1622).

door.” Midsummer-Night's Dream, v. 1

(1600).

Puck is one of the aërial spirits personified in ‘MidsummerNight's Dream.' He represents the winds.

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REFLECTION OF VIRTUE “ Man feels not what he owes, but “Virtue is as an heat which is by reflection;

doubled by reflection.” — Colors As when his virtues, aiming upon of Good and Evil (1597).

others,
Heat them, and they retort that

heat again
To the first givers."
Troilus and Cressida, iii. 3 (1609).

64

WORLD ON WHEELS “The world on wheels.”

“The world runs on wheels.” — Two Gentlemen of Verona, üi. I Promus (1594-96).

(1623).
“The third part [of the world then

is drunk ; would it were all,
That it might go on wheels."
Anthony and Cleopatra, ii. 7 (1623).

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DEATH-BED UTTERANCES “ The tongues of dying men “The words which men speak Enforce attention, like deep har- at their death, like the song of the mony."

dying swan, have a wonderful Richard II., ii. 1 (1597). effect upon men's minds." — Wis

dom of the Ancients (1609).

Diomedes, having wounded Venus in battle, was put to death for impiety, and his followers were changed into swans, “a bird,” says Bacon, « which at the approach of

This

its own death utters a sweet and plaintive sound.”
myth is several times referred to in the Plays:

“If he lose, he makes a swan-like end,
Fading in music.”

Merchant of Venice, üi. 2.

It is in the comparison, however, between the speech of dying men and the notes of a dying swan, or “deep harmony,” that this extraordinary parallelism exists.

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RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION
From Shake-speare

From Bacon “ It is an heretic that makes the “We may not take up the third fire,

sword (which is Mahomet's) ... Not she which burns in 't."

to propagate religion by wars or by Winter's Tale, ii. 3 (1623). sanguinary persecutions; ... or

descend to the cruel and execrable actions of murdering princes, butchery of people, and subversion of states and governments. Surely this is to bring down the Holy Ghost, not in the likeness of a dove, but in the shape of a vulture." - Essay of Unity of Religion (1612).

This, in an age of almost universal intolerance, is a marked agreement of opinion in favor of religious liberty. It was also of the same date, the play being first heard of in 1611, and the essay in 1612.

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DIVINITY IN CHANCE “Our indiscretion sometimes serves “Oh, what divinity there is in us well,

chance ! Accident is many times When our dear plots do pall; and more subtle than foresight." — Ad. that should teach us,

vancement of Learning (1603-5).

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From Shake-speare

From Bacon “ Being perfected how to grant "To grant all suits were to undo suits,

yourself or your people; to deny How to deny them, whom to ad all suits were to see never a convance, and whom

tented face; ... as your Majesty To trash for overtopping.".

hath of late won hearts by depressTempest, i. 2 (1623). ing, you should in this lose no

hearts by advancing.” — Letter to King James 1 (1620).

“There is use also of ambitious men in pulling down the greatness of any subject that overtops."

Essay of Ambition (1625). 69

MISQUOTING ARISTOTLE “Young men, whom Aristotle “Is not the opinion of Aristotle thought

worthy to be regarded wherein he Unfit to hear moral philosophy.” saith that young men are no fit

Troilus and Cressida, ii. 2 auditors of moral philosophy ?” — (1609).

Advancement of Learning (1603-6).

It was political philosophy that Aristotle referred to. « Διό της πολιτικής ουκ έστιν οικείος ακροατής ο νέος.”

Nicomachean Ethics, i. 3.

This error doubtless originated with Erasmus, with whose works Bacon was thoroughly acquainted. It is found in

i Quoted by Theron S. E. Dixon in his admirable work entitled Francis Bacon and his Shakespeare' (1895), p. 36. We should be doing our readers great injustice not to call their attention to this author's masterly analysis of the drama of Julius Cæsar.' All intelligent lovers of Shake-speare will mourn Mr. Dixon's untimely death in 1898. He was a lawyer of uncommon ability and worth.

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