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sonnets; we hope to do so at some future time; but we will briefly state our belief, that many of the phases of Bacon's early life might be traced in them.
Bacon owns to having written one sonnet. In The Apology of Sir Frances Bacon in certain Imputations concerning the late Earl of Essex, he writes : “And as sometimes it cometh to
that men's inclinations are opened more in a toy than in a serious matter, a little before that time, being about the middle of Michaelmas term, her Majesty had a purpose to dine at my lodge at Twickenham Park; at which time I had, though I profess not to be a poet, prepared a sonnet directly tending and alluding to draw on her Majesty's reconcilement to my Lord
This, though it be, as I said, but a toy, yet it showeth plainly in what spirit I proceeded.”
Certainly, the allusion to “another's neck,” in Sonnet 131, might be much more readily construed to apply to the Earl of Essex, than the “Hews,” in Sonnet 20, made to refer to Mr. William Hughes. With regard to
Tobie Matthew's “Postc.—The niost prodigious wit that ever I knew of my nation, and of this side of the sea, is of your lordship’s name, though he be known by
another,”—the Athenæum observes :—"Mr. Smith does not tell us what he infers from this expression of one of the reprobates about the court," and adds,—"We do not care to guess.”
We paraphrase the passage thus :—"The most prodigious wit that ever I knew of my nation, and of this side of the sea, is of the name of Bacon, though he is known by the name of Shakespeare."
The following is an extract from a letter, without date or address, which is to be found in Tobie Matthew's collection of letters; like the above postscript, it is very mysterious :
"I will not promise to return you weight for weight, but Measure for Measure; and I must also tell you beforehand, that you are not to expect any other stuff from me, than fustian and bombast, and such wares as that. For there is no venturing in richer commodities, and much less upon such as are forbidden. Neither, indeed, do we know what is forbidden and what not: for both the restraint and the penalty are determined by the discretion of the officers, and not by the letter of the law. And there is a certain judge in the world, who, in the midst of his popularity towards the meaner sort of men, would fain deprive the better sort of that happiness which was generally done in that time, whereof Tacitus wrote when he complained, that—"Memoriam ipsam cum voce perdidissimus. Si in nostra potestate esset, tam oblivisei-quam tacere."
In the Address to the Reader which precedes this collection of letters, Tobie Matthew writes.
“It will go near to pose any other nation of Europe to muster out in any age four men, who, in so many respects, should excel four such as we are able to show-Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Thomas More, Sir Philip Sidney, and Sir Francis Bacon.
The fourth was a creature of incomparable abilities of mind,-of a sharp and catching apprehension,-large and faithful memory, - plentiful and sprouting invention,-deep and solid judgment for as much as might concern the understanding part:-a man so rare in knowledge, of so many several kinds,-indued with the facility and felicity of expressing it all, in so elegant, significant, --so abundant and yet so choice and ravishing a way of words, of metaphors, and allusions,—as perhaps the world has not seen since it was a world.
" I know this may seem a great hyperbole and strange kind of riotous excess of speech; but the best means of putting me to shame, will be for
you to place any man of yours, by this of mine.”
How was it the name of William Shakespeare-a man equal, if not superior to Bacon, in the points enumerated-did not occur to Sir Tobie Matthew?
Mr. Francis Bacon, writing to this same Mr. Tobie Matthew, says :-“Of this, when you were here, I showed you some model; at what time, methought, you were more willing to hear Julius Cesar, than Queen Elizabeth commended.”
These are but slight matters; but, as Bacon observes, “You may see great objects through small crannies or levels.”
Tobie Matthew was not the reprobate the Athenæum represents him. Though the son of an archbishop, he unfortunately became what we now call a "pervert,” and was banished the country. Like
Rome's gain was England's loss; for he would doubtless have been to Bacon what Boswell was to Johnson. They were very much attached, and during the short time he was over here, he was continually with Bacon.
John Chamberlayn, Esq., writes to Sir Dudley Carleton :
“London, May 24th, 1617.-Sir Toby Matthew is come, and was last night at Mr. Secretary's, who dealt earnestly with him to take the oath of allegiance. It was lost labour, though he told him, without doing it, the King would not endure him here long
“But, perhaps, he presumes upon the Lord Keeper's favour, which indeed is very great now at first, if it continues, for he lodgeth him at York House, and carries bim next week along with him to his house at Gorhambury, near St. Alban's.". Again, in October, 1617, he writes, that “Tobie Matthew has grown very gay or gaudy in his attire, which I should not have expected of his years or judgment.”
Popery has not much credit in his conversion : it commenced by an imposition, and was consummated by wit and humour. The first impression made upon him, he says, arose from the devout behaviour of the rustics in the churches abroad, and from being convinced of the reality of the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples; but that his complete conversion was reserved for Father Parsons, who gave him to read Mr. William