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THE TWO BOOKS OF FRANCIS BACON.
Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning,
Divine and Human.
To the King.
Of the Proficience and
Divine and Human.
To the King.
HERE were, under the Law, excellent King, both daily Sacrifices, and freewill Offerings; the one proceeding
upon ordinary observance, the other upon a devout cheerfulness : in like manner there belongeth to Kings from their Servants both Tribute of duty and Presents of affection. In the former of these I hope I shall not live to be wanting, according to my most humble duty, and the good pleasure of your Majesty's employments : for the latter, I thought it more respective to make choice of some oblation, which might rather refer to the propriety and excellency of your individual person, than to the business of your Crown and State.
Wherefore, representing your Majesty many times unto my mind, and beholding you not with the inquisitive eye of presumption, to discover that which the Scripture telleth me is inscrutable, but with the observant eye of duty and admiration; leaving aside the other parts of your virtue and fortune, I have been touched, yea, and possessed with an extreme wonder at those your virtues and faculties, which the Philosophers call intellectual; the largeness of your Capacity, the faithfulness of your memory, the swiftness of your apprehension, the penetration of your Judgment, and the facility and order of your elocution: and I have often thought, that of all the persons living that I have known, your Majesty were the best instance to make a man of Plato's opinion, that all knowledge is but remembrance, and that the mind of man by nature knoweth all things, and hath but her own native and original motions (which by the strangeness and darkness of this Tabernacle of the body are sequestered) again revived and restored : such a light of Nature I have observed in your Majesty, and such a readiness to take Alame and blaze from the least occasion presented, or the least spark of another's knowledge delivered. And as the Scripture faith of the wisest king, That his heart was as the sands of the Sea ; which though it be one of the largest bodies, yet it consisteth of the smallest and finest portions; so hath God given your Majesty a composition of understanding admirable, being able to compass and comprehend the greateft matters, and nevertheless to touch and apprehend the least; whereas it should seem an impoffibility
in Nature, for the same Instrument to make itself fit for great and small Works. And for your gift of speech, I call to mind what Cornelius Tacitus faith of Augustus Cæfar: Augusto profluens, et qua principem deceret, eloquentia fuit. For, if we note it well, speech that is uttered with labour and difficulty, or speech that favoureth of the affection of art and precepts, or speech that is framed after the imitation of some pattern of eloquence, though never so excellent; all this has somewhat servile, and holding of the subject. But your Majesty's manner of speech is indeed prince-like, flowing as from a fountain, and yet streaming and branching itself into Nature's order, full of facility and felicity, imitating none, and inimitable by any. And as in your civil Estate there appeareth to be an emulation and contention of your Majesty's virtue with your fortune; a virtuous disposition with a fortunate regiment; a virtuous expectation, when time was, of your greater fortune, with a profperous pofseffion thereof in the due time; a virtuous observation of the Laws of marriage, with most blessed and happy fruit of marriage; a virtuous and most Christian desire of peace, with a fortunate inclination in your neighbour Princes thereunto : so likewise, in these intellectual matters, there seemeth to be no less contention between the excellency of your Majesty's gifts of Nature, and the universality and perfection of your Learning. For I am well assured that this which I shall fay is no amplification at all, but a positive and mea