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of youth is commonly allotted to them; which age, corruptis moribus ludibrio sunt:" and Cicero noteth because it is the age of least authority, it is trans- this error directly in Cato the second, when he ferred to the disesteeming of those employments writes to his friend Atticus ; “ Cato optime sentit, wherein youth is conversant, and which are convers sed nocet interdum reipublicæ; loquitur enim tanant about youth. But how unjust this traducement quam in republica Platonis, non tanquam in fæce is (if you will reduce things from popularity of Romuli.” And the same Cicero doth excuse and opinion to measure of reason) may appear in that expound the philosophers for going too far, and we see men are more curious what they put into a being too exact in their prescripts, when he saith, new vessel, than into a vessel seasoned ; and what " Isti ipsi præceptores virtutis et magistri, videntur mould they lay about a young plant, than about a fines officiorum paulo longius, quam natura vellet plant corroborate ; so as the weakest terms and protulisse, ut cum ad ultimum animo contendissetimes of all things use to have the best applications mus, ibi tamen, ubi oportet, consisteremus :" and and helps. And will you hearken to the Hebrew yet himself might have said, “ Monitis sum minor rabbins ? “Your young men shall see visions, and ipse meis ;" for it was his own fault, though not in your old men shall dream dreams ;” say they, so extreme a degree. youth is the worthier age, for that visions are nearer Another fault likewise much of this kind hath apparitions of God than dreams. And let it be been incident to learned men; which is, that they noted, that howsoever the condition of life of pedants have esteemed the preservation, good, and honour of hath been scorned upon theatres, as the ape of ty- their countries or masters, before their own fortunes ranny; and that the modern looseness or negligence or safeties. For so saith Demosthenes unto the hath taken no due regard to the choice of school. Athenians: “ If it please you to note it, my counsels masters and tutors; yet the ancient wisdom of the unto you are not such, whereby I should grow great best times did always make a just complaint, that amongst you, and you become little amongst the states were too busy with their laws, and too negli-Grecians: but they be of that nature, as they are gent in point of education : which excellent part of sometimes not good for me to give, but are always ancient discipline hath been in some sort revived, of good for you to follow.” And so Seneca, after he had late times, by the colleges of the Jesuits : of whom, consecrated that Quinquennium Neronis to the eteralthough in regard to their superstition I may say, nal glory of learned governors, held on his honest "quo meliores, eo deteriores ;" yet in regard of this, and loyal course of good and free counsel, after his and some other points concerning human learning master grew extremely corrupt in his government. and moral matters, I may say, as Agesilaus said to Neither can this point otherwise be; for learning his enemy Pharnabasus, “ Talis quum sis, utinam endueth men's minds with a true sense of the frailty noster esses." And thus much touching the dis- of their persons, the casualty of their fortunes, and credits drawn from the fortunes of learned men. the dignity of their soul and vocation : so that it is
As touching the manners of learned men, it is a impossible for them to esteem that any greatness of thing personal and individual: and no doubt there their own fortune can be a true or worthy end of be amongst them, as in other professions, of all their being and ordainment; and therefore are detemperatures ; but yet so as it is not without truth, sirous to give their account to God, and so likewise which is said, that “ abeunt studia in mores,” studies to their masters under God, (as kings and the states have an influence and operation upon the manners that they serve,) in these words ; “ Ecce tibi lucriof those that are conversant in them.
feci," and not “ Ecce mihi lucrifeci:" whereas the But upon an attentive and indifferent review, I, for corrupter sort of mere politicians, that have not their my part, cannot find any disgrace to learning can thoughts established by learning in the love and approceed from the manners of learned men not inhe prehension of duty, nor ever look abroad into unirent to them as they are learned; except it be a versality, do refer all things to themselves, and fault (which was the supposed fault of Demosthenes, thrust themselves into the centre of the world, as if Cicero, Cato the second, Seneca, and many more) | all lines should meet in them and their fortunes ; that, because the times they read of are commonly never caring, in all tempests, what becomes of the better than the times they live in, and the duties ship of state, so they may save themselves in the taught better than the duties practised, they con cock-boat of their own fortune; whereas men that tend sometimes too far to bring things to perfection, feel the weight of duty, and know the limits of selfand to reduce the corruption of manners to honesty love, use to make good their places and duties, of precepts, or examples of too great height. And though with peril. And if they stand in seditious yet hereof they have caveats enough in their own and violent alterations, it is rather the reverence walks. For Solon, when he was asked whether he which many times both adverse parts do give to had given his citizens the best laws, answered honesty, than any versatile advantage of their own wisely,
Yea, of such as they would receive;" and carriage. But for this point of tender sense, and Plato, finding that his own heart conld not agree fast obligation of duty, which learning doth endue with the corrupt manners of his country, refused to the mind withal, howsoever fortune may tax it, and bear place or office; saying, “ That a man's country many in the depth of their corrupt principles may was to be used as his parents were, that is, with despise it, yet it will receive an open allowance, and humble ' persuasions, and not with contestations." therefore needs the less disproof or excusation. And Cæsar's counsellor put in the same caveat, Another fault incident commonly to learned men, " Non ad vetera instituta revocans, quæ jampridem which may be more probably defended than truly
denied, is, that they fail sometimes in applying great persons, being little better than solemn parathemselves to particular persons: which want of sites; of which kind Lucian maketh a merry deexact application ariseth from two causes ; the one, scription of the philosopher that the great lady took because the largeness of their mind can hardly con to ride with her in her coach, and would needs have fine itself to dwell in the exquisite observation or him carry her little dog, which he doing officiously, examination of the nature and customs of one per- and yet uncomely, the page scoffed, and said, “That son : for it is a speech for a lover, and not for a he doubted, the philosopher of a Stoic would turn wise man :
“ Satis magnum alter alteri theatrum to be a Cynic.” But above all the rest, the gross sumus.” Nevertheless I shall yield, that he that and palpable flattery, whereunto many, not uncannot contract the sight of his mind, as well as learned, have abased and abused their wits and pens, disperse and dilate it, wanteth a great faculty. But turning, as Du Bartas saith, Hecuba into Helena, there is a second cause, which is no inability, but a and Faustina into Lucretia, hath most diminished rejection upon choice and judgment; for the honest the price and estimation of learning. Neither is and just bounds of observation, by one person upon the modern dedication of books and writings, as to another, extend no farther, but to understand him patrons, to be commended : for that books, such as sufficiently whereby not to give him offence, or are worthy the name of books, ought to have no whereby to be able to give him faithful counsel, or patrons but truth and reason.
And the ancient cuswhereby to stand upon reasonable guard and cau tom was, to dedicate them only to private and equal tion, in respect of a man's self. But to be specula- friends, or to entitle the books with their names; tive into another man, to the end to know how to or if to kings and great persons, it was to some work him, or wind him, or govern him, proceedeth such as the argument of the book was fit and profrom a heart that is double and cloven, and not en per for : but these and the like courses may deserve tire and ingenuous ; which, as in friendship, it is rather reprehension than defence. want of integrity, so towards princes or superiors, Not that I can tax or condemn the morigeration is want of duty. For the custom of the Levant, or application of learned men to men in fortune. For which is, that subjects do forbear to gaze or fix their the answer was good that Diogenes made to one eyes upon princes, is in the outward ceremony bar- that asked him in mockery, “ How it came to pass barous, but the moral is good : for men ought not that philosophers were the followers of rich men, by cunning and bent observations to pierce and and not rich men of philosophers ?” He answered penetrate into the hearts of kings, which the Scrip- soberly, and yet sharply, “ Because the one sort ture hath declared to be inscrutable.
knew what they had need of, and the other did There is yet another fault (with which I will con not." And of the like nature was the answer which clude this part) which is often noted in learned men, Aristippus made, when having a petition to Dionythat they do many times fail to observe decency and sius, and no ear given to him, he fell down at his discretion in their behaviour and carriage, and com feet; whereupon Dionysius staid, and gave him the mit errors in small and ordinary points of action, so hearing, and granted it; and afterwards some peras the vulgar sort of capacities do make a judgment son, tender on the behalf of philosophy, reproved of them in greater matters, by that which they find Aristippus, that he would offer the profession of wanting in them in smaller. But this consequence philosophy such an indignity, as for a private suit to doth often deceive men, for which I do refer them fall at a tyrant's feet. But he answered, “ It was over to that which was said by Themistocles, arro not his fault, but it was the fault of Dionysius, that gantly and uncivilly, being applied to himself out of had his ears in his feet.” Neither was it achis own mouth ; but being applied to the general counted weakness, but discretion in him that would state of this question, pertinently and justly; when, not dispute his best with Adrianus Cæsar; excusing being invited to touch a lute, he said, “ He could himself, “ That it was reason to yield to him that not fiddle, but he could make a small town a great commanded thirty legions." These and the like state.” So, no doubt, many may be well seen in applications, and stooping to points of necessity and the passages of government and policy, which are to convenience, cannot be disallowed; for though they seek in little and punctual occasions. I refer them may have some outward baseness, yet in a judgment also to that which Plato said of his master Socrates, truly made, they are to be accounted submissions to whom he compared to the gally pots of apothecaries, the occasion, and not to the person: which on the outside had apes and owls and Now I proceed to those errors and vanities, which antiques, but contained within sovereign and pre- have intervened amongst the studies themselves of cious liquors and confections; acknowledging that the learned, which is that which is principal and to an external report, he was not without superficial proper to the present argument; wherein my purlevities and deformities, but was inwardly replenished pose is not to make a justification of the errors, but, with excellent virtues and powers. And so much by a censure and separation of the errors, to make a touching the point of manners of learned men. justification of that which is good and sound, and to
But in the mean time I have no purpose to give deliver that from the aspersion of the other. For allowance to some conditions and courses base and we see, that it is the manner of men to scandalize unworthy, wherein divers professors of learning have and deprave that which retaineth the state and virwronged themselves, and gone too far; such as were tue, by taking advantage upon that which is corrupt those trencher philosophers, which in the later age and degenerate ; as the heathens in the primitive of the Roman state were usually in the houses of church used to blemish and taint the christians
with the faults and corruptions of heretics. But the varying and illustration of their works with nevertheless I have no meaning at this time to tropes and figures, than after the weight of matter, make any exact animadversion of the errors and worth of subject, soundness of argument, life of inimpediments in matters of learning, which are more vention, or depth of judgment. ) Then grew the secret and remote from vulgar opinion, but only to flowing and watery vein of Osorius, the Portugal speak unto such as do fall under, or near unto, a bishop, to be in price. Then did Sturmius spend popular observation.
such infinite and curious pains upon Cicero the There be therefore chiefly three vanities in studies, orator, and Hermogenes the rhetorician, besides his whereby learning hath been most traduced. For own books of periods, and imitation, and the like. those things we do esteem vain, which are either Then did Car of Cambridge, and Ascham, with their false or frivolous, those which either have no truth, lectures and writings, almost deify Cicero and Deor no use : and those persons we esteem vain, mosthenes, and allure all young men, that were which are either credulous or curious; and curiosity studious, unto that delicate and polished kind of is either in matter, or words : so that in reason, as learning. Then did Erasmus take occasion to make well as in experience, there fall out to be these the scoffing echo ; “ Decem annos consumpsi in lethree distempers, as I may term them, of learning: gendo Cicerone :” and the echo answered in Greek, the first, fantastical learning; the second, conten- "Ove, Asine. Then grew the learning of the schooltious learning; and the last, delicate learning; vain men to be utterly despised as barbarous. (In sum, imaginations, vain altercations, and vain affecta- the whole inclination and bent of those times was tions; and with the last I will begin.
rather towards copia, than weight. Martin Luther, conducted no doubt by a higher Here therefore is the first distemper of learning, Providence, but in discourse of reason, finding what when men study words, and not matter) whereof a province he had undertaken against the bishop of though I have represented an example of late times, Rome, and the degenerate traditions of the church, yet it hath been, and will be secundum majus et and finding his own solitude being no ways aided minus in all time. And how is it possible but this by the opinions of his own time, was enforced to should have an operation to discredit learning, even awake all antiquity, and to call former times to his with vulgar capacities, when they see learned men's succour, to make a party against the present time. works like the first letter of a patent, or limned book; So that the ancient authors, both in divinity, and in which though it hath large flourishes, yet it is but humanity, which had long time slept in libraries, a letter? It seems to me that Pygmalion's frenzy began generally to be read and revolved. This by is a good emblem or portraiture of this vanity: for consequence did draw on a necessity of a more ex words are but the images of matter, and except they quisite travail in the languages original, wherein those have life of reason and invention, to fall in love with authors did write, for the better understanding of them is all one as to fall in love with a picture. those authors, and the better advantage of pressing But yet, notwithstanding, it is a thing not hastily and applying their words. And thereof grew again to be condemned, to clothe and adorn the obscurity, a delight in their manner of style and phrase, and even of philosophy itself, with sensible and plausible an admiration of that kind of writing; which was elocution. For hereof we have great examples in much furthered and precipitated by the enmity and Xenophon, Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch, and of Plato opposition, that the propounders of those primitive, also in some degree; and hereof likewise there is but seeming new, opinions had against the school great use : for surely, to the severe inquisition of men, who were generally of the contrary part, and truth, and the deep progress into philosophy, it is whose writings are altogether in a differing style some hinderance; because it is too early satisfactory and form ; taking liberty to coin and frame new to the mind of man, and quencheth the desire of terms of art to express their own sense, and to avoid further search, before we come to a just period : circuit of speech, without regard to the pureness, but then, if a man be to have any use of such knowpleasantness, and, as I may call it, lawfulness of ledge in civil occasions, of conference, counsel, perthe phrase or word. And again, because the great suasion, discourse, or the like; then shall he find it labour then was with the people, of whom the prepared to his hands in those authors which write Pharisees were wont to say, “Execrabilis ista turba, in that manner. But the access of this is so justly quæ non novit legem ;” for the winning and per- contemptible, that as Hercules, when he saw the suading of them, there grew of necessity in chief image of Adonis, Venus's minion, in a temple, said price and request, eloquence and variety of discourse, in disdain, “ Nil sacri es ;” so there is none of Heras the fittest and forciblest access into the capacity cules's followers in learning, that is, the more severe of the vulgar sort: so that these four causes con and laborious sort of inquirers into truth, but will curring, the admiration of ancient authors, the hate despise those delicacies and affectations, as indeed of the schoolmen, the exact study of languages, and capable of no divineness. And thus much of the first the efficacy of preaching, did bring in an affection- disease or distemper of learning. ate study of eloquence, and copia of speech, which (The second, which followeth, is in nature worse
then began to flourish. This grew speedily to an than the former : for as substance of matter is better L-excess; for men began to hunt more after words than beauty of words, so, contrariwise, vain matter
than matter ; and more after the choiceness of the is worse than vain words ; ) wherein it seemeth the phrase, and the round and clean composition of the reprehension of St. Paul was not only proper for sentence, and the sweet falling of the clauses, and those times, but prophetical for the times following;
and not only respective to divinity, but extensive to resemblance, when you carry the light into one corall knowledge: “Devita profanas vocum novitates, ner, you darken the rest : so that the fable and ficet oppositiones falsi nominis scientiæ.” For he tion of Scylla seemeth to be a lively image of this assigneth two marks and badges of suspected and kind of philosophy or knowledge, which was transfalsified science : the one, the novelty and strange- formed into a comely virgin for the upper parts ; ness of terms; the other, the strictness of positions, but then, “ Candida succinctam latrantibus inguina which of necessity doth induce oppositions, and so monstris:" so the generalities of the schoolmen are questions and altercations. Surely, like as many for awhile good and proportionable ; but then, when substances in nature which are solid, do putrify and you descend into their distinctions and decisions, incorrupt into worms; so it is the propriety of good stead of a fruitful womb, for the use and benefit of and sound knowledge, to putrify and dissolve into a man's life, they end in monstrous altercations, and number of subtle, idle, unwholesome, and, as I may barking questions. So as it is not possible but this term them, vermiculate questions, which have indeed quality of knowledge must fall under popular cona kind of quickness, and life of spirit, but no sound tempt, the people being apt to contemn truth upon ness of matter, or goodness of quality. This kind occasion of controversies and altercations, and to of degenerate learning did chiefly reign amongst the think they are all out of their way which never schoolmen, who, having sharp and strong wits, and meet: and when they see such digladiation about abundance of leisure, and small variety of reading; subtilties, and matters of no use or moment, they but their wits being shut up in the cells of a few easily fall upon that judgment of Dionysius of Syraauthors, chiefly Aristotle their dictator, as their per- cuse, “ Verba ista sunt senum otiosorum.” sons were shut up in the cells of monasteries and Notwithstanding, certain it is, that if those schoolcolleges, and knowing little history, either of nature men, to their great thirst of truth, and unwearied or time, did, out of no great quantity of matter, and travail of wit, had joined variety and universality of infinite agitation of wit, spin out unto us those labo- | reading and contemplation, they had proved excelrious webs of learning, which are extant in their | lent lights, to the great advancement of all learning books. For the wit and mind of man, if it work and knowledge; but as they are, they are great unupon matter, which is the contemplation of the dertakers indeed, and fierce with dark keeping. creatures of God, worketh according to the stuff, But as in the inquiry of the divine truth, their pride and is limited thereby; but if it work upon itself, inclined to leave the oracle of God's word, and to as the spider worketh his web, then it is endless, vanish in the mixture of their own inventions ; so and brings forth indeed cobwebs of learning, admir- in the inquisition of nature, they ever left the oracle able for the fineness of thread and work, but of no of God's works, and adored the deceiving and desubstance or profit.
formed images, which the unequal mirror of their This same unprofitable subtility or curiosity is of own minds, or a few received authors or principles, two sorts : either in the subject itself that they han- did represent unto them. And thus much for the dle, when it is fruitless speculation, or controversy, second disease of learning. whereof there are no small number both in divinity For the third vice or disease of learning, which and philosophy; or in the manner or method of concerneth deceit or untruth, it is of all the rest the handling of a knowledge, which amongst them was foulest; as that which doth destroy the essential this ; upon every particular position or assertion form of knowledge, which is nothing but a repreto frame objections, and to those objections, solutions; sentation of truth ; for the truth of being and the which solutions were for the most part not confu- truth of knowing are one, differing no more than the tations, but distinctions : whereas indeed the strength direct beam and the beam reflected. This vice of all sciences is, as the strength of the old man's therefore brancheth itself into two sorts ; delight in faggot, in the band. For the harmony of a science, deceiving, and aptness to be deceived; imposture supporting each part the other, is and ought to be and credulity; which, although they appear to be of the true and brief confutation and suppression of all a diverse nature, the one seeming to proceed of the smaller sort of objections. But, on the other cunning, and the other of simplicity; yet certainly side, if you take out every axiom, as the sticks of they do for the most part concur: for, as the verse the faggot, one by one, you may quarrel with them, noteth, and bend them, and break them at your pleasure : so that, as was said of Seneca, “ Verborum minutiis
“ Percontatorem fugito, nam garrulus idem est :" rerum frangit pondera :" so a man may truly say an inquisitive man is a prattler : so upon the like of the schoolmen, “Quæstionum minutiis scientiarum reason, a credulous man is a deceiver: as we see it frangunt soliditatem.” For were it not better for a in fame, that he that will easily believe rumours, man in a fair room, to set up one great light, or will as easily augment rumours, and add somewhat branching candlestick of lights, than to go about to them of his own; which Tacitus wisely noteth, with a small watch candle into every corner ? And when he saith, “ Fingunt simul creduntque :" (so such is their method, that rests not so much upon great an affinity hath fiction and belief. evidence of truth proved by arguments, authorities, This facility of credit, and accepting or admitting similitudes, examples, as upon particular confuta- things weakly authorized or warranted, is of two tions and solutions of every scruple, cavillation, and kinds, according to the subject: for it is either a objection ; breeding for the most part one question, belief of history, or, as the lawyers speak, matter of as fast as it solveth another; even as in the former | fact; or else of matter of art and opinion. As to the
former, we see the experience and inconvenience of their vines, they had a great vintage the year folthis error in ecclesiastical history, which hath too lowing: so assuredly the search and stir to make easily received and registered reports and narrations gold hath brought to light a great number of good of miracles wrought by martyrs, hermits, or monks and fruitful inventions and experiments, as well for of the desert, and other holy men, and their relics, the disclosing of nature, as for the use of man's life. shrines, chapels, and images : which though they And as for the overmuch credit that hath been had a passage for a time, by the ignorance of the given unto authors in sciences, in making them dicpeople, the superstitious simplicity of some, and the tators, that their words should stand, and not conpolitic toleration of others, holding them but as Di. suls, to give advice; the damage is infinite that scivine poesies; yet after a period of time, when the ences have received thereby, as the principal cause mist began to clear up, they grew to be esteemed that hath kept them low, at a stay, without growth bat as old wives' fables, impostures of the clergy, or advancement. For hence it hath come, that in illusions of spirits, and badges of antichrist, to the arts mechanical, the first deviser comes shortest, and great scandal and detriment of religion.
time addeth and perfecteth ; but in science, the first So in natural history, we see there hath not been author goeth farthest, and time loseth and corruptthat choice and judgment used as ought to have eth. So we see, artillery, sailing, printing, and the been, as may appear in the writings of Plinius, Car- like, were grossly managed at the first, and by time danus, Albertus, and divers of the Arabians, being aecommodated and refined: but contrariwise the fraught with much fabulous matter, a great part not philosophies and sciences of Aristotle, Plato, Demoonly untried, but notoriously untrue, to the great critus, Hippocrates, Euclides, Archimedes, of most derogation of the credit of natural philosophy vigour at the first, and by time degenerate and with the grave and sober kind of wits : wherein the embased; whereof the reason is no other, but that wisdom and integrity of Aristotle is worthy to be in the former many wits and industries have contriobserved that, having made so diligent and exquisite buted in one; and in the latter many wits and a history of living creatures, hath mingled it spar-industries have been spent about the wit of some ingly with any vain or feigned matter; and yet, on one, whom many times they have rather depraved the other side, hath cast all prodigious narrations, than illustrated. / For as water will not ascend which he thought worthy the recording, into one higher than the level of the first spring-head from book : excellently discerning that matter of mani- whence it descendeth, so knowledge derived from fest truth, such whereupon observation and rule were Aristotle, and exempted from liberty of examination, matter of doubtful credit ; and yet again that rari- Aristotle. And therefore, although the position be ties and reports, that seem incredible, are not to be good, “ Oportet discentem credere ;” yet it must be suppressed or denied to the memory of men. coupled with this, " Oportet edoctum judicare :" for
And as for the facility of credit which is yielded disciples do owe unto masters only a temporary to arts and opinions, it is likewise of two kinds ; belief, and a suspension of their own judgment till either when too much belief is attributed to the arts they be fully instructed, and not an absolute themselves, or to certain authors in any art. The resignation, or perpetual captivity : and therefore, sciences themselves, which have had better intelli- to conclude this point, I will say no more; but so gence and confederacy with the imagination of man, let great authors have their due, as time, which is than with his reason, are three in number: astrology, the author of authors, be not deprived of his due, natural magic, and alchemy; of which sciences, ne which is, farther and farther to discover truth. vertheless, the ends or pretences are noble. For Thus I have gone over these three diseases of learnastrology pretendeth to discover that correspondence, ing; besides the which, there are some other rather or concatenation, which is between the superior peccant humours than formed diseases, which neverglobe and the inferior: natural magic pretendeththeless are not so secret and intrinsic, but that they to call and reduce natural philosophy from variety fall under a popular observation and traducement, of speculations to the magnitude of works : and and therefore are not to be passed over. alchemy pretendeth to make separation of all the The first of these is the extreme affecting of two unlike parts of bodies, which in mixtures of nature extremities; the one antiquity, the other novelty ; are incorporate. But the derivations and prosecu- wherein it seemeth the children of time do take tions to these ends, both in the theories and in the after the nature and malice of the father. For as practices, are full of error and vanity; which the he devoureth his children, so one of them seeketh great professors themselves have sought to veil over to devour and suppress the other, while antiquity and conceal by enigmatical writings, and referring envieth there should be new additions, and novelty themselves to auricular traditions and such other cannot be content to add, but it must deface; surely, devices, to save the credit of impostors: and yet the advice of the prophet is the true direction in surely to alchemy this right is due, that it may be this matter, “ State super vias antiquas, et videte compared to the husbandman whereof Æsop makes quænam sit via recta et bona, et ambulate in ea.” the fable ; that, when he died, told his sons, that Antiquity deserveth that reverence, that he had left unto them gold buried under-ground in should make a stand thereupon, and discover what his vineyard; and they digged over all the ground, is the best way; but when the discovery is well and gold they found none; but by reason of their taken, then to make progression. And to speak stirring and digging the mould about the roots of truly, “ Antiquitas seculi, juventus mundi.” These