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chemical knowledge, as regarded by ignorant persons, are
apt illustrations of this statement. 13. they teach not their own use.' In the present day when
cramming for examinations has so largely usurped the place of real education, we are tempted to estimate the value of all subjects of study according to their direct and immediate utility, and to ask with regard to them, not whether they will be of service towards mental growth and self-improvement, but whether they will pay at the examination! Thus, real education in our day has been obstructed and degraded.
And the increased facilities now afforded for rapidly acquiring, and with the least effort possible, that amount of information which examiners in various subjects require, has still further helped on the evil work of the crammers. It is almost a general rule that the real value of the knowledge which a man acquires is in direct ratio to the trouble which it has cost him to acquire it. A student profits not by what his tutor does for him, but by what he does for himself under his tutor's direction; one of the most harmful characteristics of modern education is, that teachers, and text-books, and 'handy cribs' do far too much for learners, and positively enervate them by relieving them from the difficulties of learning for themselves.
We forget that the real value of a study-apart from what may be called its commercial value-consists not in the knowledge it gives, but in the process which the learner goes through in acquiring that knowledge. This is one great reason why the study of dead languages has been found to be so great a means of the highest mental culture. And the study of Euclid is valuable to a learner, not so much for the sake of the truths demonstrated (which could indeed be demonstrated by shorter and far easier methods), but for the mental training afforded by carefully following throughout a remarkably clear and perfect system of reasoning. And a student, not well grounded in Latin, may read through a Latin author rapidly and easily by the help of a
crib;' if his object was merely to get to the end of the author, he has his reward ; if it was by means of the author to acquire a more thorough knowledge of Latin, he has utterly and miserably missed it.
In the same way the true benefits of travelling, especially of foreign travelling, have disappeared before the great facilities which are now offered to tourists.' When Alpine travel was necessarily a matter of difficulty and toil, real travellers enjoyed it, and had their ample reward from it, when the difficulty had been overcome and the toil manfully endured. The man who cheerfully climbs a mountain for the sake of climbing, and is contented with such accommodation as he chances to get at the top, is a true traveller. The 'tourist' who rides up with abundance of luggage, and then at dinner displays himself in correct evening dress in a
luxurious hotel at the top, can scarcely be called a traveller. 14. "curiously '-—with detailed attention, with great care. So also
the adjective curious which, used with regard to persons,
- Exod. xXXV, 32. His body couched in a curious bed'-3 Henry VI, II, v.
'He, sir, was lapp'd
Of his queen mother'-Cymbeline, V, v. 15. 'arguments '—subjects. See note 7, Essay XXIX. 16. 'flashy'-insipid, tasteless. The word is now used almost
exclusively in reference to the sense of sight, and means glittering; but here Bacon evidently uses it in reference to taste, probably deriving it from the Latin adjective flaccidus = languid, feeble.
“Their lean and flashy songs Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw'-Lycidas, 123, 124.
"The tastes that most offend in fruits, herbs, and roots are bitter,
harsh, sour, waterish, or flashy'-Bacon's Natural History. 17. writing'—the habit of taking down notes of what is observed
or read. He certainly does not mean reproducing or
composing: 18. present wit’-ready wit, presence of mind. 19. witty'—having happy thoughts ; readily discerning relations
between things that more prosaic persons regard as utterly
unconnected. 20.‘Studies pass into character.' The quotation is from Ovid,
Heroides, xv, 83. 21. stond'-obstacle. This form of the word occurs also in
Essay XL, line 14. 22. bowling'-playing at bowls, a game once very common in
England, and for which bowling-greens were provided. 23. 'reins' - kidneys (Latin renes, French reins). The word
is commonly used in this sense in Holy Scripture :
'My reins shall rejoice when thy lips speak right things'
-Prov. xxii, 16. * The righteous God trieth the heart and reins'-Ps. vii, 9. I am He which searcheth the reins and heart'-Rev. ii, 23.
24. schoolmen.' See note 12, Essay XVII.
25. Splitters of cummin seed;' or, as we now commonly say in
illustration of over-exact distinctions, straw-splitters, or hair. splitters.
Bacon uses this illustration again in the Advancement of Learning, i, 7, where he says of Antoninus Pius that he had the patient and subtile wit of a schoolman,' and 'was called cymini sector, a carver or divider of cummin seed, which is one of the least seeds; such a patience he had, and settled
spirit, to enter into the least and most exact differences of 26. beat over’-search, examine rapidly and readily remember.
The illustration is derived from the sports of hunting and shooting
ANALYSIS OF ESSAY L.
1. The use of studies :
1. Delight-in privacy and retirement.
3. Ability-in practical business. II. The abuse of studies:
1. Spending too much time in them ('sloth').
scholar). III. Rules for study:
1. Weigh and consider everything which you read.
(a.) In parts (“tasted').
1. Reading-to obtain information.
3. Writing—to obtain accuracy.
1. History—which fosters wisdom.
Natural—which fosters depth.
Moral—which fosters gravity. 5. Logic and rhetoric—which foster power of
4. Remember that studies cure mental diseases, as exercises
cure bodily diseases :
1. Bowling-good for kidneys.
4. Riding-good for head.
1. Mathematics-good for wandering wits.
LI.-OF FACTION. (1597, greatly enlarged 1625.) Many have an opinion not wise, that for a prince to govern his estate, or for a great person to govern his proceedings, according to the respect of Factions, is a principal part of policy; whereas, contrariwise, the chiefest wisdom is, either in ordering those things which are general, and wherein men of several Factions do nevertheless agree, or in dealing with correspondence to particular persons, one by one:1 but I say not, that the consideration of Factions is to be neglected. Mean 2 men in their rising must adhere; but great men, that have strength in themselves, were better to maintain themselves indifferent and neutral : yet even in beginners, to adhere so moderately, as he be a man of the one Faction, which is most passable with the other, commonly giveth best way.4
The lower and weaker Faction is the firmer in conjunction ;5 and it is often seen, that a few that are stiff,6 do tire out a great number that are more moderate.
When one of the Factions is extinguished, the remaining subdivideth ; as the Faction between Lucullus? and the rest of the nobles of the senate (which they called 'optimates') held out a while against the Faction of Pompey and Cæsar; but when the senate's authority was pulled down,
Cæsar and Pompey soon after brake. The Faction or party of Antonius and Octavianus Cæsar, against Brutus and Cassius, held out likewise for a time; but when Brutus and Cassius were overthrown, then soon after Antonius and Octavianus brake and subdivided. These examples are of wars, but the same holdeth in private Factions : and therefore, those that are seconds in Factions, do many times, when the Faction subdivideth, prove principals; but many times also they prove ciphers and cashiered;8 for many a man's strength is in opposition;' and when that faileth, he groweth out of use.
It is commonly seen, that men once placed, 10 take in 11 with the contrary Faction to that by which they enter; thinking, belike,12 that they have the first sure, and now are ready for a new purchase. 13 The traitor in Faction lightly goeth away with it ; 14 for when matters have stuck long in balancing, the winning of some one man casteth them,15 and he getteth all the thanks. The even carriage between two Factions proceedeth not always of moderation, but of a trueness to a man's self,16 with end to make use of both. Certainly, in Italy, they hold it a little suspect in popes, when they have often in their mouth 'Padre commune, and take it to be a sign of one that meaneth to refer all to the greatness of his own house.
Kings had need beware how they side themselves, and make themselves as of a Faction or party ; for leagues within the state are ever pernicious to monarchies; for they raise an obligation paramount to obligation of sovereignty, and make the king 'tanquam unus ex no
as was to be seen in the League 18 of France. When Factions are carried too high and too violently, it is a sign of weakness in princes, and much to the prejudice both of their authority and business. The motions of Factions under kings, ought to be like the motions (as the astronomers speak) of the inferior orbs, which may have their proper 19 motions, but yet still are quietly carried by the higher motion of primum mobile.' 20