desirous to try an experiment or two, touching the conservation and induration of bodies. As for the experiment itself, it succeeded excellently well; but in the journey between London and Highgate I was taken with such a fit of casting, as I knew not whether it were the stone, or some surfeit, or cold, or indeed a touch of them all three. But when I came to your lordship's house, I was not able to go back, and therefore was forced to take up my lodging here, where your housekeeper is very careful and diligent about me, which I assure myself your lordship will not only pardon towards him, but think the better of him for it. For indeed your lordship's house was happy to me; and I kiss your noble hands for the welcome which I am sure you give me to it.

"I know how unfit it is for me to write to your lordship with any other hand than my own; but by my troth, my fingers are so disjointed with this fit of sickness, that I cannot steadily hold a pen."

This was his last letter. He died in the arms of Sir Julius Cæsar, early on the morning of Easter Sunday, the 9th of April, 1626, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. (a)

his will.

On opening his will, his wish to be buried at St. Albans Opening thus appears: "For my burial, I desire it may be in St. Michael's church, near St. Albans: there was my mother buried, and it is the parish church of my mansionhouse of Gorhambury, and it is the only Christian church within the walls of Old Verulam."

(a) He died on the ninth day of April, in the year 1626, in the early morning of the day then celebrated for our Saviour's resurrection, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, at the Earl of Arundel's house in Highgate, near London, to which place he casually repaired about a week before, God so ordaining that he should die there of a gentle fever, accidentally accompanied with a great cold, whereby the defluxion of rheum fell so plentifully upon his breast, that he died of suffocation.-Rawley.




Of his funeral no account can be found, nor is there any trace of the scite of the house where he died. (a)

He is buried in the same grave with his mother in St. Michael's church.

On his monument he is represented sitting in contemplation, his hand supporting his head. (b)

















This monument, erected by his faithful secretary, has transmitted to posterity the image of his person; and, though no statue could represent his mind, his attitude of deep and tranquil thought cannot be seen without emotion.

No sculptured form gives the lineaments of Sir Thomas Meautys. A plain stone records the fact, that he lies at his master's feet. Much time will not pass away before

(a) I have sought, but sought in vain, for the scite of the house where he died. See the Gentleman's Magazine, June, 1828.

(b) With an inscription composed by that accomplished gentleman and rare wit, Sir Henry Wotton.-Rawley.

The statue is of white marble, which is very finely executed of the size of life, by an Italian artist.

the few letters which may now be seen upon his grave will be effaced. His monument will be found in the veneration of after times, in the remembrance of his grateful adherence to the fallen fortunes of his master, "that he loved and admired him in life, and honoured him when dead." (a)

(a) In page 104 of the edition by the learned and pious John Jebb, Bishop of Limerick, of Burnet's Lives, is the following note: “Such, and yet more striking, was Lord Bacon's inflexible adherent, Thomas Meautys: who transmitted to posterity the monumental image of his person, in an attitude of deep, yet tranquil thought; while he himself lies, unsculptured, but not forgotten, at his master's feet. Few and faint are the inscriptive characters which can now be traced of the modest secretary's name; but it is deeply engraven on many a kind and congenial heart. He who now guides the pen once visited the church of Saint Michael, within the precincts of Old Verulam. He trusts he did so with no irreverent emotion; and, while he read the thrilling sic sedebat, he thought upon the faithful servant, who never viewed him so seated but with affectionate veneration."

The following is an extract from my Journal :-Thursday, Oct. 8, 1829. On Sunday morning last we left London for St. Albans. We went to St. Michael's Church, and sat by the altar, near to the monument. After church we walked to Gorhambury: explored the ruins of Sir Nicholas Bacon's old mansion, where Lord Bacon lived when a child, and where when he was a child Queen Elizabeth first noticed him. A few of the ruins remain. All is still and quiet. On Monday morning we took the clerk of St. Michael's, and went to the church: we took a wet sponge, to enable me to ascertain whether my opinion as to the grave of Sir Thomas Meawtys was right or erroneous. After our washings we found the inscription as follows:

[blocks in formation]

I am satisfied that, upon removing the pew, which is now upon part of the stone, there will appear, in the first line, HERE LIE, and in the second line, THOMAS, SO that the inscription will be plain:



I directed the clerk to ascertain what will be the expense of raising the pew; and, if necessary, I will apply to Lord Verulam and to the Rector.

[blocks in formation]

His tem


His person.


In his analysis of human nature, Bacon considers first the general properties of man, and then the peculiar properties of his body and of his mind. (a) This mode may be adopted in reviewing his life.

He was of a temperament of the most delicate sensibility: so excitable, as to be affected by the slightest alterations in the atmosphere. (b) It is probable that the temperament of genius may much depend upon such pressibility, (c) and that to this cause the excellencies and failures of Bacon may frequently be traced. His health was always delicate, and, to use his own expression, he was all his life puddering with physic. (e)

He was of a middle stature, and well proportioned; his features were handsome and expressive, and his countenance, until it was injured by politics and worldly warfare, singularly placid. There is a portrait of him when he was only eighteen now extant, on which the artist has recorded his despair of doing justice to his subject, by the inscription "Si tabula daretur digna, animum mallem.(ƒ) His portraits differ beyond what may be

(a) See p. 135. (b) See note G at the end, and note (a), next page. (c) See Coleridge's Aids to Reflection, where he considers this sensibility to be the foundation of the temperament of genius; that, rightly directed, it leads to all that is great and good; wrongly directed, to all that is bad and vicious; and that in the twilight between both, there lies sentimentality more injurious perhaps than open vice.-To the same effect Lord Bacon says: "In the law of the leprosy it is said, 'If the whiteness overspread the flesh, the patient may pass abroad for clean: but if there be any whole flesh remaining, he is to be shut up for unclean.' One of the rabbins noteth a principle of moral philosophy, that men abandoned to vice do not so much corrupt manners as those that are half good and half evil." (e) See his letter to Sir Humphry May, vol. xii. p. 407.

(f) See note (a), p. 17. The original is in the possession of Adam Hawkins, Esq. who kindly permitted me to take a copy, from which the slight engraving in this edition is taken.

considered a fair allowance for the varying skill of the artist, or the natural changes which time wrought upon his person; but none of them contradict the description given by one who knew him well, " that he had a spacious forehead and piercing eye, looking upward as a soul in sublime contemplation, a countenance worthy of one who was to set free captive philosophy." (a)

His life of mind was never exceeded, perhaps never equalled. When a child

"No childish play to him was pleasing:"

(a) Evelyn on Medals. The following observations respecting his person are from Rawley's life. "It hath been desired that something should be signified touching his diet, and the regimen of his health; of which, in regard of his universal insight into nature, he may perhaps be to some an example. For his diet, it was rather a plentiful and liberal diet, as his stomach would bear it, than a restrained, which he also commended in his book of the History of Life and Death. In his younger years he was much given to the finer and lighter sorts of meat, as of fowls and such like; but afterward, when he grew more judicious, he preferred the stronger meats such as the shambles afforded, as those meats which bred the more firm and substantial juices of the body, and less dissipable: upon which he would often make his meal, though he had other meats upon the table. You may be sure he would not neglect that himself, which he so much extolled in his writings, and that was the use of nitre, whereof he took in the quantity of about three grains in thin warm broth every morning for thirty years together next before his death. And for physic he did indeed live physically but not miserably; for he took only a maceration of rhubarb infused into a draught of white wine and beer mingled together for the space of half an hour in six or seven days, immediately before his meal, whether dinner or supper, that it might dry the body less, which (as he said) did carry away frequently the grosser humours of the body, and not diminish or carry away any of the spirits, as sweating doth; and this was no grievous thing to take: as for other physic in an ordinary way (whatsoever hath been vulgarly spoken) he took not. His receipt for the gout, which did constantly ease him of his pain within two hours, is already set down in the end of the Natural History. It may seem the moon had some principal place in the figure of his nativity, for the moon was never in her passion, or eclipsed, but he was surprised with a sudden fit of fainting, and that, though he observed not, nor took any previous knowledge of the eclipse thereof, and as soon as the eclipse ceased, he was restored to his former strength again."


« VorigeDoorgaan »