« ZurückWeiter »
23. merely'-entirely, exclusively. See note 16, Essay II. 24. less partially'-more fairly and impartially. Thus we often
use the adjective partial to denote unfair and unjust prefer
ence for some one above others. 25. 'model'-plan, pattern; ideal which I should like to see car
When we mean to build,
26. 'There may be variety in the garment, but let there not be rending
of it.' The quotation is from St Bernard.
The distinction he calls attention to is, that unity, is real
oneness of spirit, while uniformity is oneness of appearance. 27. For example, many of the metaphysical refinements which have
been introduced into theology. The useless and endless discussions caused by such terms as transubstantiation, predestination, and others, which belong not to theology but to philosophy, and have introduced needless and harassing complications into questions that are otherwise, and when viewed
practically, very simple. 28. Thus two persons may disagree and quarrel on the question
whether a certain action was right, when it appears plainly to a candid observer that they both allow the action to have been perfectly legal and allowable, but at the same time unkind or unadvisable.
Warm discussions might be carried on as to whether Napoleon I was a great man, or whether the Government of England is Republican or not, by persons who agree perfectly as to the facts but disagree as to the meaning which they attach to the terms used.
The courteous use of the word misunderstanding as synonymous with quarrel is an expression which concedes what
Bacon here is contending for. 29. distance of judgment'--the separation which renders it im
possible for us to completely understand and appreciate each other, and therefore makes us incompetent judges of each
other's words and actions. 30. 'accepteth of both
-sees the truth and right of both contending parties. 31. 'Avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science
falsely so called '-1 Tim. vi, 20. 32. but'-only. 33. implicit'—really existing but not recognised; discoverable
but not apparent. 34. pieced '--patched. 35. muniting'-strengthening; fortifying against attack (Latin
munio). 36. 'overt '--open; opposite to covert, i.e. hidden.
37. practice'-plotting, conspiracy. 38. Doubtless Bacon here refers to the papal excommunication
against Queen Elizabeth. 39. which’-i.e. government. He seems to refer to Rom. xiii,
1, 2: ‘The powers that be are ordained of God.' 40. Such a course is really dashing the first Table of the Decalogue
against the second, and thus breaking them both, on the plea
of duty to God urging men to forget their duty to each other. 41. 'So many wrongs could religion induce to.' Agamemnon was
chosen by the Greeks to conduct the famous expedition against Troy. To stay a pestilence and remove a calm which prevented his departure, he consented to offer up his
daughter Iphigenia as a sacrifice. 42. The massacre of St Bartholomew in Paris (1572), and the
Gunpowder Plot (1605). 43. He means that the religious persecutor is guilty of the greatest
possible and the most horrible blasphemy, because he brings God in (i.e. represents Him as upon a stage before spectators) in a character which is foully false, and ascribes to Him
motives which are utterly abhorrent to Him.. 44. 'murdering princes.' He refers to the assassination of Henry
III of France by a Dominican friar in 1589. 45. «Mercury rod'—the caduceus with which Mercury summoned
to hell the souls of the departed. 46. •facts '-deeds. Latin facta. 47. would be'-ought to be; requires to be. 'The wrath of man
worketh not the righteousness of God'— James i, 20. 48. ingenuously'—honestly, frankly.
ANALYSIS OF ESSAY III. I. Dissensions in religion are naturally confined to those who
worship a jealous God. II. The fruits of unity:
1. Scandal is avoided (external).
2. Peace is secured (internal). III. Bounds of unity to be defined
1. Not by the extreme of over-much zeal (Jehu),
things essential and things indifferent, for-
trivial manner. IV. Unity is false when
Based on ignorance.
V. Means of unity:
IV.—OF REVENGE. (1625.) REVENGE 1 is a kind of wild justice, which the more man's nature runs to the more ought law to weed it out: for as for the first wrong it doth but offend the law, but the revenge of that wrong putteth the law out of office.3 Certainly, in taking Revenge a man is but even 4 with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior; for it is a prince's part to pardon : and Solomon, I am sure, saith, “It is the glory of a man to pass by an offence.'5 That which is past is gone and irrevocable, and wise men have enough to do with things present and to come; therefore they do but trifle with themselves that labour in past matters. There is no man doth a wrong for the wrong's sake, but thereby to purchase himself profit
, or pleasure, or honour, or the like; therefore why should I be angry
with a man for loving himself better than me? And if any man should do wrong merely out of ill-nature, why, yet it is but like the thorn or brier, which prick and scratch, because they can do no other.
The most tolerable sort of Revenge is for those wrongs which there is no law to remedy ; but then, let a man take heed the Revenge be such as there is no law to punish, else a man's enemy is still beforehand, and it is two for one.? Some, when they take Revenge, are desirous the party should know whence it cometh : this is the more generous; for the delight seemeth to be not so much in doing the hurt as in making the party repent: but base and crafty cowards are like the arrow that flieth in the dark.
Cosmus, Duke of Florence, had a desperate 8 saying against perfidious or neglecting friends, as if those wrongs were unpardonable. You shall read' (saith he) 'that we
are commanded to forgive our enemies; but you never read that we are commanded to forgive our friends.' But yet the spirit of Job was in a better tune : ‘Shall we,' saith he, 'take good at God's hands, and not be content to take evil also ?' 9 and so of friends in a proportion.
This is certain, that a man that studieth Revenge keeps his own wounds green, 10 which otherwise would heal and do well.
Public Revenges 11 are for the most part fortunate; as that for the death of Cæsar; for the death of Pertinax ; for the death of Henry the Third of France; and many
But in private Revenges it is not so; nay, rather vindictive persons live the life of witches : 12 who, as they are mischievous, so end they unfortunate.
NOTES ON ESSAY IV.
1. "Revenge. Revenge differs from punishment in that it is the
infliction of merely spiteful injury in return for injury received; while punishment has a distinctly moral object, that of protection, by its deterrent influence, from similar injury in the future. Civil society has tacitly agreed that there shall be but one power competent to exercise this protection, namely, that of the law: revenge, such as duelling, which Bacon seems especially to have in mind, is not only immoral, consisting merely in the vindictive pleasure of retaliation, but unauthorised.
The vindictive self-gratification which revenge seeks is implied in the common expression, to take revenge ; revenge is
taken; punishment is given. • wild justice'-uncultivated ; like a noxious weed, which,
though a natural growth, is carefully eradicated from gardens and cultivated places. He is referring not to wild animals but to wild vegetables; and compares revenge to a noxious weed, but lawful punishment to a cultivated plant. The phrases 'runs to,' weed it out,' show clearly that this is the
meaning 3. putteth the law out of office'-displaces it, and usurps its
function, which is the worse offence. Similarly, a Spanish proverb says: 'He begins the quarrel who strikes the second
bloτυ.' 4. even'-on the same level, no better than. 5. Quoted, but not literally, from Prov. xix, 11. The expression
'I am sure' is merely expletive, equivalent to surely, certainly,
then. 6. merely'-entirely, altogether, absolutely; from downright evil
nature without excuse of any kind. See note 16, Essay II. 7. two for one'-i.e. the original offender suffers only once, viz.
by the revenge taken upon his offence; but the revenger suffers twice-once by the original wrong, and then again by
the punishment of the law for his unauthorised revenge. 8. desperate'—bitter, sharp, very severe. Cosmo I (1519-1574),
Grand Duke of Tuscany, and a member of the famous Medici family. On the assassination of his relative, Alessandro, he was elected head of the republic of Florence, which he ruled
despotically, but with great prosperity, for thirty-four years. 9. Quoted from Fob ii, 1o. He means that as we are contented
(having no choice) to receive both blessing and adversity from the hand of God, so in like manner and in due measure we ought to feel contented at what we receive from our fellow
men, when we have some degree of choice.
green'—unhealed, raw, open. 11. "Public Revenges '—revenges undertaken publicly and law
fully. Bacon says that these are often fortunatei.e. prosperous, successful. The murderers of Julius Cæsar, Cassius, and Brutus were both slain. Pertinax, a Roman emperor, was assassinated A. D. 193 by a band of mutinous Prætorian Guards, who, in return, were put to death by his successor, Septimius Severus. Henry III was stabbed (1589) by a monk, Jacques Clément, in revenge for the assassination of the Duke of Guise. Henry IV succeeded, and defeated the adherents of the Guises at the battle of Ivry, 1591.
Bacon contrasts the prosperous issue of these revenges with the unfortunate end of private revengers, who, he says, live
and die like witches. 12. 'witches.' The 'unfortunate' end of witches, in Bacon's time,
was sentence of death. Early in the reign of James I a law had been passed consigning to immediate death persons convicted of witchcraft, and Bacon himself had recommended the torture of a man who was charged with having used sorcery against the king.
ANALYSIS OF ESSAY IV.
I. Revenge is intolerable, because it is
1. Destructive of the law.