« VorigeDoorgaan »
real illumination concerning causes and axioms | tion and glory, yet the second excelleth it in profit than is hitherto attained. For like as a man's and use, and the third in verity and sincerity: for disposition is never well known till he be crossed, history of times representeth the magnitude of nor Proteus ever changed shapes till he was actions, and the public faces and deportments of straitened and held fast; so the passages and persons, and passeth over in silence the smaller variations of nature cannot appear so fully in the passages and motions of men and matters. But liberty of nature, as in the trials and vexations of such being the workmanship of God, as he doth art.
hang the greatest weight upon the smallest wires, For Civil History, it is of three kinds; not un- “ maxima è minimis suspendens,” it comes therefitly to be compared with the three kinds of pic-fore to pass, that such histories do rather set forth tures or images; for of pictures or images, we the pomp of business than the true and inward see, some are unfinished, some are perfect, and resorts thereof. But Lives, if they be well some are defaced. So of histories we may find written, propounding to themselves a person to three kinds, Memorials, Perfect Histories, and represent in whom actions both greater and Antiquities; for Memorials are history unfinished, smaller, public and private, have a commixture, or the first or rough draughts of history; and An- must of necessity contain a more true, native, tiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of and lively representation. So again Narrations history which have casually escaped the ship- and relations of actions, as the War of Peloponwreck of time.
nesus, the Expedition of Cyrus Minor, the ConMemorials, or preparatory history, are of two spiracy of Catiline, cannot but be more purely sorts ; whereof the one may be termed Commen- and exactly true than histories of times, because taries, and the other Registers. Commentaries they may choose an argument comprehensible are they which set down a continuance of the within the notice and instructions of the writer : naked events and actions, without the motives or whereas he that undertaketh the story of a time, designs, the counsels, the speeches, the pretexts, especially of any length, cannot but meet with the occasions and other passages of action: for many blanks and spaces which he must be forced this is the true nature of a Commentary; though to fill up out of his own wit and conjecture. Cæsar, in modesty mixed with greatness, did For the History of Times, I mean of civil for his pleasure apply the name of a Commentary history, the providence of God hath made the disto the best history of the world. Registers are tribution: for it hath pleased God to ordain and collections of public acts, as decrees of council, illustrate two exemplar states of the world for judicial proceedings, declarations and letters of arms, learning, moral virtue, policy, and laws; state, orations and the like, without a perfect the state of Græcia, and the state of Rome; the continuance or contexture of the thread of the histories whereof occupying the middle part of narration.
time, have, more ancient to them, histories which Antiquities, or remnants of history, are, as was may by one common name be termed the Antiquisaid, “ tanquam tabula naufragii;" when indus- ties of the world; and after them, histories which trious persons, by an exact and scrupulous dili- may be likewise called by the name of Modern gence and observation, out of monuments, names, History. words, proverbs, traditions, private records and Now to speak of the deficiencies. As to the evidences, fragments of stories, passages of books heathen antiquities of the world, it is in vain to that concern not story, and the like, do save and note them for deficient; deficient they are no recover somewhat from the deluge of time. doubt, consisting most of fables and fragments;
In these kinds of imperfect histories, I do assign but the deficience cannot be holpen; for antiquity no deficience, for they are “ tanquam imperfecte is like fame, "caput inter nubila condit;" her mista ;” and therefore any deficience in them is head is muffled from our sight. For the history but their nature. As for the corruptions and of the exemplar states, it is extant in good permoths of history, which are Epitomes, the use of fection. Not but I could wish there were a perthem deserveth to be banished, as all men of sound fect course of history for Græcia from Theseus to judgment have confessed ; as those that have Philopemen, (what time the affairs of Græcia fretted and corroded the sound bodies of many were drowned and extinguished in the affairs of excellent histories, and wrought them into base Rome;) and for Rome froin Romulus to Justiniand unprofitable dregs.
anus, who may be truly said to be “ ultimus RoHistory, which may be called Just and Perfect manorum.” In which sequences of story the History, is of three kinds, according to the object text of Thucydides and Xenophon in the one, and which it propoundeth, or pretendeth to represent: the text of Livius, Polybius, Sallustius, Cæsar, for it either representeth a time, or a person, or an Appianus, Tacitus, Herodianus in the other, to be action The first we call Chronicles, the second kept entire without any diminution at all, and Lives, and the third Narrations or Relations. Of only to be supplied and continued. But this 19 these, although the first be the most complete and matter of magnificence, rather to be commended absolute kind of history, and hath most estima- than required : and we speak now of parts of
learning supplemental, and not of supereroga- your majesty and your generations, (in which, I tion.
hope, it is now established forever,) had these But for modern Histories, whereof there are prelusive changes and varieties. some few very worthy, but the greater part be- For Lives, I do find it strange that these times neath mediocrity, (leaving the care of foreign have so little esteemed the virtues of the times, stories to foreign states, because I will not be as that the writing of lives should be no more "curiosus in aliena republica,”') I cannot fail to frequent. For although there be not many soverepresent to your majesty the unworthiness of the reign princes or absolute commanders, and that history of England in the main continuance states are most collected into monarchies, yet are thereof, and the partiality and obliquity of that there many worthy personages that deserve better of Scotland in the latest and largest author that than dispersed report or barren eulogies. For I have seen: supposing that it would be honour herein the invention of one of the late poets is for your majesty, and a work very memorable, if proper, and doth well enrich the ancient fiction : this island of Great Britain, as it is now joined for he feigneth that at the end of the thread or in monarchy for the ages to come, so were joined web of every man's life there was a little medal in one history for the times passed ; after the containing the person's name, and that Time manner of the sacred history, which draweth waited upon the shears; and as soon as the down the story of the ten tribes and of the two thread was cut, caught the medals, and carried tribes, as twins, together. And if it shall seem them to the river of Lethe; and about the bank that the greatness of this work may make it less there were many birds flying up and down, that exactly performed, there is an excellent period of would get the medals and carry them in their a much smaller compass of time, as to the story beak a little while, and then let them fall into the of England ; that is to say, from the uniting of river: only there were a few swans, which if the roses to the uniting of the kingdoms; a por- they got a name, would carry it to a temple where tion of time, wherein, to my understanding, there it was consecrated. hath been the rarest varieties that in like number And although many men, more mortal in their of successions of any hereditary monarchy hath affections than in their bodies, do esteem desire of been known: for it beginneth with the mixed name and memory but as a vanity and ventosity, adoption of a crown by arms and title; an entry
Animi nil magnæ laudis egentes;" by battle, an establishment by marriage: and therefore times answerable, like waters after a which opinion cometh from that root, “non prius tempest, full of working and swelling, though laudes contempsimus, quam laudanda facere desiwithout extremity of storm: but well passed vimus;" yet that will not alter Solomon's judgthrough by the wisdom of the pilot, being one of ment, “ Memoria justi cum laudibus, at impiorum the most sufficient kings of all the number. nomen putrescet:” the one flourisheth, the other Then followeth the reign of a king, whose ac- either consumeth to present oblivion, or turneth tions, howsoever conducted, had much intermix- to an ill odour. And therefore in that style or ture with the affairs of Europe, balancing and addition, which is and hath been long well reinclining them variably; in whose time also ceived and brought in use, “ felicis memoriæ, began that great alteration in the state ecclesias- piæ memoriæ, bonæ memoriæ,” we do acknowtical, an action which seldom cometh upon the ledge that which Cicero saith, borrowing it from stage. Then the reign of a minor: then an offer Demosthenes, that “ bona fama propria possessio of an usurpation, though it was but as “ febris defunctorum ;" which possession I cannot but ephemera :" then the reign of a queen matched note that in our times it lieth much waste, and with a foreigner : then of a queen that lived soli- that therein there is a deficience. tary and unmarried, and yet her government so For Narrations and Relations of particular masculine that it had greater impression and actions, there were also to be wished a greater dilioperation upon the states abroad than it any ways gence therein: for there is no great action but hath received from thence. And now last, this most some good pen which attends it. And because happy and glorious event, that this island of Bri- it is an ability not common to write a good tain, divided from all the world, should be united history, as may well appear by the small numin itself: and that oracle of rest, given to Æneas, ber of them : yet if particularity of actions me“ Antiquam exquirite matrem,” should now be morable were but tolerably reported as they pass, performed and fulfilled upon the nations of Eng- the compiling of a complete history of times might land and Scotland, being now reunited in the an- be the better expected, when a writer should arise cient mother name of Britain, as a full period of that were fit for it: for the collection of such relaall instability and peregrinations : so that as it tions might be as a nursery garden, whereby to cometh to pass in massive bodies, that they have plant a fair and stately garden, when time should certain trepidations and waverings before they fix serve. and settle; so it seemeth that by the providence There is yet another portion of history which of God this monarchy, before it was to settle in Cornelius Tacitus maketh, which is not to be forgot, especially with that application which he ac- “Nosque ubi primus equis oriens afflavit anhelis, coupleth it withal, “ Annals and Journals ;" ap
Illic sera rubens accendit lumina Vesper:” propriating to the former matters of estate, and to yet that might be by demonstration, and not in the latter acts and accidents of a meaner nature. fact: and if by travel, it requireth the voyage but For giving but a touch of certain magnificent of half the globe. But to circle the earth, as buildings, he addeth, “ Cum ex dignitate populi the heavenly bodies do, was not done nor enRomani repertum sit, res illustres annalibus, talia terprised till these latter times : and therefore diurnis urbis actis mandare.” So as there is a these times may justly bear in their word, not kind of contemplative heraldry, as well as civil. only “plus ultra,” in precedence of the anAnd as nothing doth derogate from the dignity of cient “non ultra,” and “imitabile fulmen” in a state more than confusion of degrees; so it precedence of the ancient “non imitabile fuldoth not a little embase the authority of a history, men,” to intermingle matters of triumph or matters of
“Demens qui nimbos et non imitabile fulmen;" &c. ceremony, or matters of novelty, with matters of but likewise « imitabile cælum;" in respect of the state. But the use of a journal hath not only many memorable voyages, after the manner of been in the history of time, but likewise in the heaven, about the globe of the earth. history of persons, and chiefly of actions; for And this proficience in navigation and discoprinces in ancient time had, upon point of honour veries may plant also an expectation of the further and policy both, journals kept of what passed proficience and augmentation of all sciences; beday by day: for we see the chronicle which cause it may seem they are ordained by God to be was read before Ahasuerus, when he could not coevals, that is, to meet in one age. For so the take rest, contained matters of affairs indeed, but prophet Daniel, speaking of the latter times, such as had passed in his own time, and very fortelleth, “ Plurimi pertransibunt, et multiplex lately before ; but the journal of Alexander's erit scientia :" as if the openness and thorough house expressed every small particularity, even passage of the world and the increase of knowconcerning his person and court; and it is yet ledge were appointed to be in the same ages : as a use well received in enterprises memorable, we see it is already performed in great part: the as expeditions of war, navigations, and the learning of these latter times not much giving like, to keep diaries of that which passeth con- place to the former two periods or returns of learntinually.
ing, the one of the Grecians, the other of the I cannot likewise be ignorant of a form of Romans. writing which some grave and wise men have History Ecclesiastical receiveth the same diviused, containing a scattered history of those actions sions with history civil : but further, in the prowhich they have thought worthy of memory, with priety thereof, may be divided into the History politic discourse and observation thereupon : not of the Church, by a general name; History of incorporated into the history, but separately, and Prophecy; and History of Providence. The first as the more principal in their intention; which describeth the times of the militant church,'' kind of ruminated history I think more fit to place whether it be fluctuant, as the ark of Noah; or amongst books of policy, whereof we shall here- movable, as the ark in the wilderness; or at after speak, than amongst books of history: for it rest, as the ark in the temple: that is, the state is the true office of history to represent the events of the church in persecution, in remove, and in themselves together with the counsels, and to leave peace. This part I ought in no sort to note as the observations and conclusions thereupon to the deficient; only I would that the virtue and sinliberty and faculty of every man's judgment: but cerity of it were according to the mass and quanmixtures are things irregular, whereof no man cantity. But I am not now in hand with censures, define.
but with omissions. So also is there another kind of history mani- The second, which is History of Prophecy, foldly mixed, and that is History of Cosmography: consisteth of two relatives, the prophecy, and the being compounded of natural history, in respect accomplishment; and therefore the nature of such of the regions themselves; of history civil, in re- a work ought to be, that every prophecy of the spect of the habitations, regiments, and manners Scripture be sorted with the event fulfilling the of the people ; and the mathematics, in respect of same, throughout the ages of the world; both for the climates and configurations towards the hea- the better confirmation of faith, and for the better vens : which part of learning of all others, in this illumination of the church touching those parts latter time, hath obtained most proficience. For of prophecies which are yet unfulfilled : allowing it may be truly affirmed to the honour of these nevertheless that latitude which is agreeable and times, and in a virtuous emulation with antiquity, familiar unto divine prophecies; being of the nathat this great building of the world had never ture of their author, with whom a thousand years thorough lights made in it, till the age of us and are but as one day; and therefore are not fulfilled our fathers; for although they had knowledge of punctually once, but have springing and gerthe antipodes,
minant accomplishment throughout many ages; though the height or fulness of them may refer is that part of learning which answereth to one to some one age. This is a work which I find of the cells, domiciles, or offices of the mind of deficient; but is to be done with wisdom, 80-man; which is that of the Memory. briety, and reverence, or not at all.
Poesy is a part of learning in measure of words The third, which is History of Providence, for the most part restrained, but in all other containeth that excellent correspondence which is points extremely licensed, and doth truly refer to between God's revealed will and his secret will : the imagination; which, being not tied to the laws which though it be so obscure, as for the most of matter, may at pleasure join that which nature part it is not legible to the natural man; no, nor hath severed, and sever that which nature hath many times to those that behold it from the taber- joined; and so make unlawful matches and dinacle; yet at some times it pleaseth God, for vorces of things; “ Pictoribus atque poetis, &c.". our better establishment and the confuting of those It is taken in two senses, in respect of words, or which are as without God in the world, to write matter : in the first sense it is but a character of it in such text and capital letters, that as the style, and belongeth to arts of speech, and is not prophet saith, “ he that runneth by may read it;" pertinent for the present: in the latter, it is, as that is, mere sensual persons, which hasten by hath been said, one of the principal portions of God's judgments and never bend or fix their cogi- learning, and is nothing else but feigned history,tations upon them, are nevertheless in their pass- which may be styled as well in prose as in age and race urged to discern it. Such are the verse. notable events and examples of God's judgments, The use of this feigned history hath been to chastisements, deliverances, and blessings : and give some shadow of satisfaction to the mind of this is a work which hath passed through the la- man in those points wherein the nature of things bours of many, and therefore I cannot present as doth deny it, the world being in proportion infeomitted.
rior to the soul; by reason whereof there is, There are also other parts of learning which agreeable to the spirit of man, a more ample are Appendices to history: for all the exterior greatness, a more exact goodness, and a more abproceedings of man consist of words and deeds; solute variety, than can be found in the nature of whereof history doth properly receive and retain things. Therefore, because the acts or events ol in memory the deeds; and if words, yet but as true history have not that magnitude which satisinducements and passages to deeds: so are there fieth the mind of man, poesy feigneth acts and other books and writings, which are appropriate events greater and more heroical : because true to the custody and receipt of words only; which history propoundeth the successes and issues of likewise are of three sorts; Orations, Letters, and actions not so agreeable to the merits of virtue and brief Speeches or Sayings. Orations are plead- vice, therefore poesy feigns them more just in reings, speeches of counsel, laudatives, invectives, tribution, and more according to revealed proviapologies, reprehensions, orations of formality or dence: because true history representeth actions ceremony, and the like. Letters are according to and events more ordinary, and less interchanged, all the variety of occasions, advertisements, ad- therefore poesy endueth them with more rareness, vices, directions, propositions, petitions, commen- and more unexpected and alternative variations : datory, expostulatory, satisfactory; of compliment, so as it appeareth that poesy serveth and conferof pleasure, of discourse, and all other passages reth to magnanimity, morality, and to delectation. of action. And such as are written from wise And therefore it was ever thought to have some men, are of all the words of man, in my judgment, participation of divineness, because it doth raise the best; for they are more natural than orations and erect the mind, by submitting the shows of and public speeches, and more advised than con- things to the desires of the mind; whereas reason ferences or present speeches. So again letters doth buckle and bow the mind unto the nature of of affairs from such as manage them, or are privy things. And we see, that by these insinuations to them, are of all others the best instructions for and congruities with man’s nature and pleasure, history, and to a diligent reader the best histories joined also with the agreement and consort it in themselves. For Apophthegms, it is a great hath with music, it hath had access and estima. loss of that book of Cæsar's; for as his history, and tion in rude times and barbarous regions, where those few letters of his which we have, and those other learning stood excluded. apophthegms which were of his own, excel all The division of poesy which is aptest in the men's else, so I suppose would his collection of propriety thereof, (besides those divisions which apophthegms have done; for as for those which are common unto it with history, as feigned wie collected by others, either I have no taste in chronicles, feigned lives, and the appendices of such matters, or else their choice hath not been history, as feigned epistles, feigned orations, and happy. But upon these three kinds of writings, I the rest,) is into Poesy, Narrative, Representative, do not insist, because have no deficiencies to and Allusive. propound concerning them.
The Narrative is a mere imitation of history, Thus much therefore concerning history; which with the excesses before remembered; choosing
for subject commonly wars and love, rarely| upon the fable framed. For I find it was an anstate, and sometimes pleasure or mirth.
cient vanity in Chrysippus, that troubled himself Representative is as a visible history; and is with great contention to fasten the assertions of an image of actions as if they were present, as the Stoics upon the fictions of the ancient poets ; history is of actions in nature as they are, that is but yet that all the fables and fictions of the past.
poets were but pleasure and not figure, I interAllusive or parabolical is a narration applied pose no opinion. Surely of those poets which only to express some special purpose or conceit: are now extant, even Homer himself, (notwithwhich latter kind of parabolical wisdom was much standing he was made a kind of Scripture by the more in use in the ancient times, as by the fables latter schools of the Grecians,) yet I should withof Æsop, and the brief sentences of the Seven, out any difficulty pronounce that his fables had no and the use of hieroglyphics, may appear. And such inwardness in his own meaning; but what the cause was, for that it was then of necessity to they might have upon a more original tradition, is express any point of reason, which was more not easy to affirm; for he was not the inventor of sharp or subtile than the vulgar in that manner; many of them. because men in those times wanted both variety In this third part of learning, which is poesy, of examples and subtilty of conceit: and as hiero- I can report no deficience. For being as a plant glyphics were before letters, so parables were be- that cometh of the lust of the earth, without a forfore arguments : And nevertheless now, and at all mal seed, it hath sprung up and spread abroad times, they do retain much life and vigour; be- more than any other kind : but to ascribe unto it cause reason cannot be so sensible, nor examples that which is due, for the expressing of affections, so fit.
passions, corruptions, and customs, we are beBut there remaineth yet another use of poesy holden to poets more than to the philosophers' parabolical, opposite to that which we last men- works; and for wit and eloquence, not much less tioned : for that tendeth to demonstrate and illus- than to orators' harangues. But it is not good to trate that which is taught or delivered, and this stay too long in the theatre. Let us now pass on other to retire and obscure it; that is, when the to the judicial place or palace of the mind, which secrets and mysteries of religion, policy, or phi- we are to approach and view with more reverence losophy, are involved in fables or parables. Of and attention. this in divine poesy we see the use is authorized. The knowledge of man is as the waters, some In heathen poesy we see the exposition of fables descending from above, and some springing from doth fall out sometimes with great felicity; as in beneath ; the one informed by the light of nature, the fable that the giants being overthrown in their the other inspired by divine revelation. The war against the gods, the Earth, their mother, in light of nature consisteth in the notions of the revenge thereof brought forth Fame:
mind and the reports of the senses: for as for “ Illam Terra parens, irâ irritata deorun,
knowledge which man receiveth by teaching, it is Extremam, ut perhibent, Coco Enceladoque sororem cumulative and not original; as in a water that, Progenuit.”
besides his own spring-head, is fed with other Expounded, that when princes and monarchs springs and streams. So then, according to these have suppressed actual and open rebels, then the two differing illuminations or originals, knowmalignity of the people, which is the mother of ledge is first of all divided into Divinity and rebellion, doth bring forth libels and slanders, and Philosophy. taxations of the state, which is of the same kind In Philosophy, the contemplations of man do with rebellion, but more feminine. So in the fa- either penetrate unto God,—or are circumferred to ble, that the rest of the gods having conspired to nature-or are reflected or reverted upon himse.f. bind Jupiter, Pallas called Briareus with his Out of which several inquiries there do arise hundred hands to his aid: expounded, that monar- three knowledges, Divine philosophy, Natural chies need not fear any curbing of their absolute- philosophy, and Human philosophy or Humanity. ness by mighty subjects, as long as by wisdom For all things are marked and stamped with this they keep the hearts of the people, who will be triple character, of the power of God, the differsure to come in on their side. So in the fable, ence of nature, and the use of man. But because that Achilles was brought up under Chiron the the distributions and partitions of knowledge are Centaur, who was part a man and part a beast. not like several lines that meet in one angle, and expounded ingeniously, but corruptly by Machia- so touch but in a point; but are like branches of vel, that it belongeth to the education and disci-a tree, that meet in a stem, which hath a dimenpline of princes to know as well how to play the sion and quantity of entireness and continuance, part of the lion in violence, and the fox in guile, before it come to discontinue and break itself into as of the man in virtue and justice. Neverthe-arms and boughs; therefore it is good, before we less, in many the like encounters, I do rather think enter into the former distribution, to erect and that the fable was first, and the exposition then constitute one universal science, by the name of devised, than that the moral was first, and there-1 « Philosophia Prima," primitive or summary phi. VOL. I.-25