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PARALLEL PASSAGES, AND PECULIAR PHRASES, FROM BACON AND
OETRY and prose, plays and philosophical writings, are generally considered so opposed and antagonistic, that it seems unreasonable to expect to find in them similarity of ideas or coincidences of expression; yet these are to be found in Bacon and Shakespeare. Thus, in the Advancement of Learning :
Poetry is nothing else but feigned history.
Twelfth Night, act i. sc. 2:
Viola. 'Tis poetical.
As You Like It, act iii. sc. 7:
The truest poety is the most feigning.
Essay on Building :He that builds a fair house upon an ill seat committeth himself to prison ; nor do I reckon that an ill seat only, where the air is unwholesome, but likewise where it is unequal. Macbeth, act i. sc. 6:
This castle hath a pleasant seat—the air
Advancement of Learning :
Behaviour seemeth to me a garment of the mind, and to have the conditions of a garment. For it ought to be made in fashion, it ought not to be too curious.
Hamlet, act i. sc. 3:
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
Advancement of Learning : Is not the opinion of Aristotle worthy to be regarded, where he saith, that young men are not fit auditors of moral philosophy, because they are not settled from the boiling heat of their affections, nor attempered by time and experience.
Troilus and Cressida, act ii. sc. 3:
Aristotle quoted incorrectly in both these passages. He says political, not moral philosophy.
Advancement of Learning :
In the third place I set down reputation, because of the peremptory tides and currents it hatb, which, if they be not taken in due time, are seldom recovered, it being extreme hard to play an after.game of reputation.
Julius Cæsar, act iv. sc. 3:
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Bacon relates that a fellow named Hog importuned Sir Nicholas to save his life on account of the kindred between Hog and Bacon.
“Ay, but,” replied the judge, "you and I cannot be kindred except you be hanged: for Hog is not Bacon until it be well hanged,"
Merry Wives of Windsor, act iv. sc. 1:
On Cunning :
For there be many wise men that have secret hearts, but transparent countenances.
Henry IV. part 2, act i. sc. 1 :
And the whiteness in thy cheek,
Interpretation of Nature :
Yet evermore it must be remembered, that the least part of knowledge passed to man by this so large a charter from Godmust be subject to that use for which God hath granted it, which is the benefit and relief of the state and society of man.
Measure for Measure, act i. sc. 2:
Nature never lends
Note the peculiar use of the words, knee and chew.
Life of Henry VII. :
As his victory gave him the knee, so his purposed marriage with the Lady Elizabeth gave him the heart, so that both knee and heart did truly bow before him.
Richard II. Show heaven the humbled heart and not the knee.
Hamlet. And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee.
On Studies :Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few chewed and digested.
Henry V. act ii. sc. 2.
How shall we stretch our eyes,
Letter to James I. :And therefore, in conclusion, he wished him not to shut the gate of your Majestie's mercy against himself, by being obdurate any longer. Henry, act iii. sc.
The gates of mercy shall be all shut up. Henry VI.
Open the gate of mercy, gracious Lord.
says, Essays was a new word in Bacon's time, and his use of it quite novel. Bacon thus writes of his Essays
Which I have called Essays. The word is late, though the thing is ancient.
Mrs. Clark, in her Concordance, reports the word Essays as occurring twice in Shakespeare, which indeed is true of Knight's Shakespeare ; but it only occurs once in the folio of 1623, in relation to Edgar's letter to Edmund, who says :
I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay or taste of my nature.
On Masques :It is better they should be graced with elegancy, than daubed with cost.
Lear, act iv. sc. 1:-