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And make her full of hateful fan
tasies." Midsummer-Night's Dream, ii. 1
Ibid., v. 1.
'A Midsummer-Night's Dream' is a play founded on natural magic, with Oberon and Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, as prominent dramatis personce. These names and the characters they represent were taken from romances, written by Hugh or Huon of Bordeaux, with which Bacon was familiar. He refers to them in the 'Advancement of Learning' when treating of magic:
“As for that natural magic whereof now there is mention in books, containing certain credulous and superstitious conceits and observations of Sympathies and Antipathies, and hidden proprieties [properties], and some frivolous experiments, strange rather by disguisement than in themselves, it is as far differing in truth of nature from such a knowledge as we require, as the story of King Arthur of Britain, or Hugh of Bordeaux, differs from Cæsar's Commentaries." — Book ii. (1605).
The play illustrates precisely such effects of magic as Bacon describes, sympathy and antipathy at the will of magicians. Lysander and Hermia, for instance, are introduced to us in the first act as in love with each other and about to marry; but while Lysander is lying asleep by the side of his prospective bride, Puck makes his appearance and lets fall into his eyes some drops of a liquid that at once turns his love into hate. The same kind of enchantment causes him to fall in love with Helena. That is to say, his
affections, like those of Demetrius and Titania, are controlled by the “hidden (or magical) properties” of a flower while he is asleep
METHOD IN MADNESS
From Bacon “Though this be madness, yet “They were only taking pains there is method in 't.”
to show a kind of method and Hamlet, ii. 2 (1604). discretion in their madness.” —
Novum Organum (1608–20).
COUGHING “ Thou hast quarreled with a “A cough cannot be hid." man for coughing in the street.” Promus (1594–96). - Romeo and Juliet, iii. 1 (1599).
FOOLS “ Jaques. I am ambitious for a “Cato Major would say, that motley coat.
wise men learned more by fools, Duke S. Thou shalt have one than fools by wise men.” - ApoJaq.
It is my only suit. thegms (1624). . . . I must have liberty Withal, as large a charter as the
wind, To blow on whom I please ; give
me leave To speak my mind, and I will
through and through Cleanse the foul body of the in
fected world, If they will patiently receive my
As You Like It, ii. 7 (1623).
Bacon was very fond of apothegms, as he was also of proverbs. He refers to them as useful productions in the first edition of his · Advancement of Learning'in 1605, and still more forcibly in the Latin edition of the same work
published in 1623. It is not difficult to understand why both apothegms and proverbs are found, credited to clowns and fools, in Shake-speare: they illustrate Bacon's favorite method of imparting philosophy without contention. “In the reflections of Falstaff,” says Mr. Hudson,“ we have a clear, though brief, view of the profound philosopher underlying the profligate humorist and make-sport; for (the author] there discovers a breadth and sharpness of observation and a depth of practical sagacity such as might have placed him in the front rank of statesmen and sages.”—SHAKESPEARE'S Art and Life, ii. 94.
FIRES IDE TALK
From Bacon “O, these flaws and starts, “They ought all to be despised, Impostors to true fear, would well and ought to serve but for winbecome
ter's talk by the fireside.” — Essay A woman's story at a winter's fire.” of Prophecies (1625).
Macbeth, iii. 4 (1623).
MEDICINES FOR THE MIND “ Canst thou not minister to a “The particular remedies which mind diseased ?”
learning doth minister to all the Macbeth, v. 3 (1623). diseases of the mind.” – Advance
ment of Learning, Book i. (1603-5).
“Good lord, Madam, said I, how wisely and aptly can you speak and discern of physic ministered to the body, and consider not that there is the like occasion of physic ministered to the mind.”— Apology concerning the Earl of Essex (1603).
“We know diseases of stoppings and suffocations are the most dangerous in the body; and it is not much otherwise in the mind.” — Essay of Friendship (1625).
ADDRESS IN COURT
From Bacon “ Most potent, grave, and reverend “I speak not to simple men, but signiors!”
to prudent, grave, and wise peers.” Othello, i. 3 (1622). Speech at the Trial of Essex (1601).
On this parallelism Mr. Gerald Massey comments as follows:
“Shakespeare himself gives us a hint, in his dramatic way, that he was present at the trial of the Earl, for he has, in a well-known speech of Othello's, adopted the manner and almost the words with which Bacon opened his address on that memorable occasion." The Secret Drama of Shakespeare's Sonnets, p. 216.
“ The expense of spirit in a waste
of shame Is lust in action; and till action,
lust Is perjur'd, murderous, bloody, full
of blame, Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to
trust; Enjoy'd no sooner but despised
straight; Past reason hunted.”
Sonnet 129 (1609).
“Lust never rests satisfied with what it has, but goes on and on, with infinite insatiable appetite, panting after new triumphs. Tigers also are kept in its stalls and yoked to its chariot; for, as soon as it ceases to go on foot and comes to ride in its chariot, as in celebration of its victory and triumph over reason, then it is cruel, savage, and pitiless.” — Wisdom of the Ancients (1609).
156 PERSONAL BEAUTY AND VIRTUE “Those that she [Fortune] makes “Neither is it almost seen that fair she scarce makes honest, and very beautiful persons are otherthose that she makes honest she wise of great virtue." - Essay of makes very ill-favoredly." Beauty (1607–12).
As You Like It, i. 2 (1623).
From Bacon “Rumor is a pipe “The nature of the common Blown by surmises, jealousies, people . . . gives birth to rumors, conjectures,
and malignant whispers, and querAnd of so easy and so plain a stopulous fames, and defamatory libels, That the blunt monster with un- and the like.” – Wisdom of the counted heads,
Ancients (1609). The still-discordant wavering mul.
titude, Can play upon it.”
2 Henry IV., Induction (1600).
Mr. George James, a ripe scholar and critic of Birmingham, England, calls attention to the identity of thought regarding the operations of Rumor (evidently inspired by Virgil) in Bacon's Essay of 'Seditions and Troubles' and the Induction to 2 Henry IV. The passages he refers to are as follows: “ Rumor. I, from the orient to the “Libels and licentious discourses drooping west,
against the state, when they are Making the wind my post-horse, frequent and open, and in like sort, still unfold
false news, running up and down The acts commenced on this ball to the disadvantage of the state of earth;
and hastily embraced, are amongst Upon my tongue continual slanders the signs of troubles." - Essay of ride;
Seditions (1607–12). The which in every language I
pronounce, Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.”
SHIP ON A LEE SHORE
“In heavy storms they first “ Boatswain. Heigh, my hearts! lower the yards, and take in the
cheerly, cheerly, my hearts! topsails, and, if necessary, all yare, yare ! take in the topsail the others, even cutting down