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ground) — was simply true to the original, had studied Cardan's translation of the Prognostica, or Galen's commentary upon it. We know that Bacon was familiar with both of these authors' works, frequently quoting from them in his own. Perhaps the most striking passage in the Novum Organum is that in which he proclaims man as naturæ minister (servant of nature), taken by Galen from the writings of Hippocrates. In one of his tracts he mentions the Prognostica by name. We know, too, that the author of the Plays was acquainted with them, as Douce and Hunter admit:

“There is a good deal on this subject (Suicide and Doubt] in Cardan's 'Comfort' (1576), a book which Shakespeare had certainly read.” — Douce's Illustrations of Shakespeare, ii. 238.

“This seems to me to be the book [Cardan's] which Shakespeare placed in the hands of Hamlet.”—HUNTER's Illustrations of Shakespeare, ii. 243.

The word field, used by Hostess Quickly in the above passage, signifies merely expanse or surface (of the face), as in the following instances, taken from Shake-speare himself:

“ This silent war of lilies and roses,
Which Tarquin viewed in her fair face's field.

“When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field.

Sonnet 2.

Dr. Henry Bradley, the distinguished lexicographer, has shown that the royal court, now known as the Board of Green Cloth, was formerly called, in one at least of the household ordinances (1470), the Board of Green Field or Feald.

It appears, then, that Bacon and Shake-speare quoted the same presages of death from Hippocrates, quoted them

in the same order, and (probably) from the same Latin translation.


From Shake-speare

From Bacon “ It is you that have chalk'd the Alexander Borgia was wont to way

say of the expedition of the French Which has brought us hither.” for Naples, that they came with

Tempest, v. 1 (1623).1 chalk in their hands to mark "Not propp'd by ancestry, whose up their lodgings, and not with grace

weapons to fight.” Advancement Chalks successors their way." of Learning (1603-5). Henry VIII., i. 1 (1623). “ To mark with chalk." — Pro

mus (1594-96).

Bacon was very fond of quoting the above witticism of the Pope, applying it to his own case in the peaceful efforts he was making to introduce into the minds of men a new philosophy. In 1607, he sent one of his tracts to Sir Thomas Bodley with the remark, “ If you be not of the lodgings marked up, I am but to pass by your door.” He refers to the subject again in his Redargutio Philosophiarum composed probably in 1608; also in the Novum Organum (1620) and the De Augmentis (1623).

“I like better that entry of truth which comes peaceably, as with chalk to mark up those minds which are capable to lodge and harbor such a guest, than that which forces its way with pugnacity and contention." - Advancement of Learning.

The 'Tempest' was first printed in 1623, but written prob ably in or about 1613. “Henry VIII.' was also printed for the first time in the folio of 1623, the date of its composition in its present form not having been earlier than May 3, 1621.

1 The dates appended in parentheses to these passages indicate the time either when the passages were written, or (if that be unknown) when they were first printed.

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This is, of course, an error, for bees have no king. But it is one of classical origin. Virgil says:

“ The bees of a bive are very obsequious to their king. They attend him in crowds, often raising him on their shoulders and exposing their own bodies in his defence." — Georgics, iv.

The truth is, the author of the Plays drew his knowledge of natural history, not from nature, but from books.


DEAFNESS “ If this (song] penetrate, I will “To cure deafness is difficult." consider your music the better ; if it - Promus (1594-96). do not, it is a vice in her ears which “Nothing is so hard to cure as horse-hairs . . . can never mend." the ear.” - De Augmentis (1622). - Cymbeline, ii. 3 (1623). “Your tale, sir, would cure deaf

99 ness.

The Tempest, i. 2 (1623).


“ Fresh tears “ Observe how the mind doth Stood on her cheeks, as doth the gather this excellent dew of knowhoney-dew

ledge, like unto that which the poet Upon a gather'd lily.”

speaketh of, 'aërial honey,' distilTitus Andronicus, iii. 1 (1600). ling and contriving it out of partic“ Like the bee, culling from every ulars natural and artificial, as the flower

flowers of the field and garden.” — The virtuous sweets.”

Advancement of Learning (1603–5). 2 Henry IV., iv. 5 (1623).

It was the opinion of Aristotle that honey comes from dew, and that bees gather from flowers nothing but wax. Bacon notices this theory in his Natural History, saying of it: “I have heard from one that was industrious in husbandry, that the labor of the bee is about the wax; and that he hath known, in the beginning of May, honey-combs empty of honey, and within a fortnight, when the sweet dews fall, filled like a cellar.” Then he states his own opinion, agreeing with the author of the plays: “ for honey, the bee maketh or gathereth it." The old superstition lingers with both authors, however, in the term “ honey-dew.”


From Shake-speare

From Bacon Guid.

I do note “ Take a service-tree, or a corneThat Grief and Patience, rooted in lian-tree, or an elder-tree, which him, both

we know have fruits of harsh and Do mingle their spurs together. binding juice, and set them near a Arvir.

Grow, Patience, vine or fig-tree, and see whether And let the stinking elder, Grief, the grapes or figs will not be the untwine

sweeter.”—Natural History (1622His perishing root, with the in- 25). creasing vine."

Cymbeline, iv. 2 (1623). The ancients believed in the existence of sympathy and antipathy among plants. They cited particularly the case of the colewort and the vine, declaring that the vine, whenever it finds itself creeping near its enemy, the colewort, turns away. Bacon discusses the same subject in his Natural History, and suggests that an experiment be made to determine whether or not the elder-tree (among others) be also inimical to the vine. The author of 'Cymbeline’not only makes mention of the same singular theory, as stated in Pliny and Porta, but also applies it in connection with the vine to the elder-tree (instead of the colewort), as Bacon did.

1 Used transitively, equivalent to killing.



From Shake-speare

From Bacon “Nothing in his life “ Sir Thomas More, at the very Became him like the leaving it; he instant of death, when he had died

already laid his bead on the fatal As one that had been studied in his block, lifted it up a little and, death,

gently raising aside his beard, To throw away the dearest thing which was somewhat long, said, he ow'd,

• This at least has not offended the As 't were a careless trifle.”

king.'"-De Augmentis (1622). Macbeth, i. 4 (1623).

The commentators think that the author of 'Macbeth,' in writing the above passage, had in mind the Earl of Essex. This is clearly a mistake. The Earl's conduct on the scaffold was marked by deep seriousness and the most scrupulous regard for propriety. He spent the entire time to the moment of his death either in prayer or in imploring the prayers of others. On the other hand, Bacon pronounces the demeanor of Sir Thomas More on the scaffold as a miracle of human nature, because More died with a jest in his mouth, or threw away

“ The dearest thing he ow'd, As 't were a careless trifle." 2



“ Honorificabilitudinitatibus." “Honorificabilitudine.”—North

Love's Labor 's Lost, v. 1 (1598). Umberland MSS. (circa 1598).

1 In the sense of owned.

2 Mr. Speduling's want of discrimination is shown by his comment on above passage from ‘Macbeth': “If Shakspere had not died two years before the death of Sir Walter Raleigh, we must have thought these lines referred to him." And yet Mr. Spedding's own account of Sir Walter Raleigh's behavior on the scaffold - that he met his death “with the most unaffected and cheerful composure, the finest humanity, the most courtly grace and good humor, and yet with no unseemly levity" — entirely negatives his opinion on this subject.

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