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ór to make a hymn to the muses ; (though I am og opinion that it is long since their rites were duly celebruted :) but my intent is, without varnish or amplification, justly to weigh the dignity of knowledge in the balance with other things, to take the true value thereof by testimonies and
arguments divine and human. Different proofs of the advantages of knowledge. 1. Divine proofs
53 1. Before the creation.* 2. After the creation.
1. Before the flood. 2. After the flood.
1. Before christianity In the law of the leprosy, it is said, “ If the white" ness have overspread the flesh, the patient may pass " abroad for clean ; but if there be any whole flesh re
maining, he is to be shut up for unclean ;" one of them noteth a principle of nature, that putrefaction is more con
* The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
When there were no depths I was brought forth ; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth.
While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
When he prepared the heavens I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. •
Proverbs, chap. viii.
tagious before maturity than after : and another noteth a position of moral philosophy, that men abandoned to vice do not so much corrupt manners, as those that are half good and half evil.
2. After christianity. 2. Human proofs
60 1. Learning relieves man's afflictions which arise from na. ture
.60 Founders and uniters of states and cities, lawgivers, extirpers of tyrants, fathers of the people, and other eminent persons in civil merit, were honoured but with the titles of worthies or demi-gods; such as were Hercules, Theseus, Minos, Romulus, and the like: on the other side, such as were inventors and authors of new arts, endowments, and commodities towards man's life, were ever consecrated amongst the gods themselves : as were Ceres, Bacchus, Mercurius, Apollo, and others : and justly; for the merit of the former is confined within the circle of an age or a nation and is like fruitful showers, which though they be profitable and good, yet serve but for that season, and for a latitude of ground where they fall; but the other is indeed like the benefits of heaven, which are permanent and universal. The former, again, is mixed with strife and perturbation ; but the latter hath the true character of divine presence, coming
“ in aura leni,” without noise or agitation.(i) 2. Learning represses the inconveniences which grow from man to man.
63 In Orpheus's theatre, all beasts and birds assembled; and forgetting their several appetites, some of prey, some of game, some of quarrel, stood all sociably together listening to the airs and accords of the harp; the sound whereof no sooner ceased, or was drowned by some louder noise, but
every beast returned to his own nature : wherein is aptly described the nature and condition of men, who are full of savage and unreclaimed desires of profit, of lust, of revenge ; which as long
(i) See note (I) at the end.
as they give ear to precepts, to laws, to religon, sweetly touched with eloquence and persuasion of books, of sermons, of harangues, so long is society and peace maintained; but if these instruments be silent, or sedition and tumult make them not audible, all things dissolve into anarchy and con
fusion 3. Proof of this position by shewing the conjunction between learning in the prince and happiness in the people.
64 But for a tablet, or picture of smaller volume, (not presuming to speak of your majesty that liveth,) in my judgment the most excellent is that of queen Elizabeth, your immediate predecessor in this part of Britain; a princess that, if Plutarch were now alive to write lives by parallels, would trouble him, I think, to find for her a parallel amongst women. This lady was endued with learning in her sex singular, and rare even amongst masculine princes ; whether we speak of learning, language, or of science, modern or ancient, divinity or humanity: and unto the very last year of her life she was accustomed to appoint set hours for reading, scarcely any young student in an university inore daily, or more duly. As for her government, I assure myself, I shall not exceed, if I do affiron that this part of the island never had forty-five years of better times; and yet not through the calmness of the season, but through the wisdom of her regimen. For if there be considered of the one side, the truth of religion established, the constant peace and security, the good administration of justice, the temperate use of the prerogative, not slackened, nor much strained, the flourishing state of leurning, sortable to so ercellent a patroness, the convenient estate of wealth and means, both of crown and subject, the habit of 'obedience, and the moderation of discontents; and there be considered, on the other side, the differences of religion, the troubles of neighbour countries, the ambition of Spain, and opposition of Rome, and then, that she was solitary and of herself : these things, I say, considered, as I could not have chosen an instance so recent and so proper, so, I suppose, I could not have chosen one more remarkable or eminent to the pur
pose now in hand, which is concerning the conjunction of
learning in the prince with felicity in the people.(k) 69 3. There is a concurrence between learning and military virtue
78 When Cæsar, after war declared, did possess himself of the city of Rome ; at which time entering into the inner treasury to take the money there accumulated, Metellus being tribune, forbade him : whereto Cæsar said, “ That “ if he did not desist, he would lay him dead in the place.” And presently taking himself up, he added, “ Adolescens, “ durius est mihi hoc dicere quàm facere." Young man, it is harder for me to speak than to do it. A speech compounded of the greatest terror and greatest clemency that
could proceed out of the mouth of man. 4. Learning improves private virtues
80 1. It takes away the barbarism of men's minds.
“Scilicet ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes,
• Emollit mores, nec sinit esse feros."
81 If a man meditate much upon the universal frame of nature, the earth with men upon it, the divineness of souls ercepted, will not seem much other than an ant-hill, where as some ants carry corn, and some carry their young, and
some go empty and all to-and-fro a little heap of dust. 4. It mitigates the fear of death or adverse fortune.
Virgil did excellently and profoundly couple the knowledge of causes and the conquest of all fears together, as
“ Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari.”
The unlearned man knows not what it is to descend into himself, or to call himself to account; nor the pleasure of that “ sua vissima vita, indies sentire se fieri meli
(k) This beautiful passage is omitted in the Treatise De Augmentis.
Certain it is that 'veritas” and “ bonitas" differ but as the seal and the print: for truth prints goodness ; and they be the clouds of error which descend in the storms of passions
and perturbations. 5. Learning is power.(1) 6. Learning advances fortune
84 7. The pleasure of knowledge is the greatest of plea
85 We see in all other pleasures there is satiety, and after they be used, their verdure departeth ; which sheweth well they be but deceits of pleasure, and not pleasures; and that it was the novelty which pleased, and not the quality : and therefore we see that voluptuous men turn friars, and ambitious princes turn melancholy. But of knowledge there is no satiety, but satisfaction and appetite are perpetually interchangeable.
“. It is a view of delight, to stand or walk upon the “shore side, and to see a ship tossed with tempest upon “the sea; or to be in a fortified tower, and to see two “ battles join upon a plain; but it is a pleasure incompar“able, for the mind of man to be settled, landed, and for
tified in the certainty of truth; and from thence to “ descry and behold the errors, perturbations, labours, and
wanderings up and down of other men.' 8. Learning insures immortality
87 If the invention af the ship was thought so noble, which carrieth riches and commodities from place to place, and consociateth the most remote regions in participation of their fruits, how much more are letters to be magnified, which, as ships, pass through the vast seas of time, and make ages so distant to participate of the wisdom, illuminations, and inventions, the one of the other ?
Nevertheless, I do not pretend, and I know it will be impossible for me, by any pleading of mine, to reverse the judgment, either of Æsop's cock, that preferred the barleycorn before the gem; .or of Midas, that being chosen judge
(1) See notc (L) at the end.