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persons, weighty and important business, poverty, or any thing deserving pity.
7. A long continued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, sheweth slowness: and a good reply, without a good set speech, showeth shallowness and weakness.
8. To use many circumstances, ere you come to the matter, is wearisome; and to use none at all, is but blunt.
9. Bashfulness is a great hindrance to a man, both of uttering his conceit, and understanding what is propounded unto him ; wherefore it is good to press himself forwards with discretion, both in speech and company of the better sort.
Usus promptos facit.
Bacon's collection of Apophthegms, though a sick man's task, ought not to be regarded as a work merely of amusement; still less as a jest-book. It was meant for a contribution, though a slight one, towards the supply of what he had long considered as a desideratum in literature. In the Advancement of Learning he had mentioned Apophthegms with respect, along with Orations and Letters, as one of the appendices to Civil History; regretting the loss of Cæsar's collection ; “ for as for those which are collected by others (he said) either I have no taste in such matters, or their choice hath not been happy.”! This was in 1605. In revising and enlarging that treatise in 1623, he had spoken of their use and worth rather more fully. “They serve (he said) not for pleasure only and ornament, but also for action and business ; being, as one called them, mucrones verborum,--speeches with a point or edge, whereby knots in business are pierced and severed. And as former occasions are continually recurring, that which served once will often serve again, either produced as a man's own or cited as of ancient authority. Nor can there be any doubt of the utility in business of a thing which Cæsar the Dictator thought worthy of his own labour; whose collection I wish had been preserved; for as for any others that we have in this kind, but little judgment has in my opinion been used in the selection.”? Of this serious use of apo
1 Vol. III. p. 342.
2 “Neque apophthegmata ipsa ad delectationem et ornatum tantum prosunt, sed ad res gerendas etiam et usus civiles. Sunt enim (ut aiebat ille) veluti secures aut mucrones verborum ; qui rerum et negotiorum nodos acumine quodam secant et penetrant; occasiones autem redeunt in orbem, et quod olim erat commodum rursus adhiberi et prodesse potest, sive quis ea tanquam sua proferat, sive tanquam vetera. Neque certe de utilitate ejus rei ad civilia dubitari potest, quam Cæsar Dictator operâ suâ honestavit ; cujus liber utinam extaret, cum ea quæ usquam habentur in hoc genere nobis parum cum delectu congesta videantur." - De Aug. Sci. ii. 12. VOL. VII.
phthegms Bacon himself had had long experience, having been all his life a great citer of them; and in the autumn of 1624, when he was recovering from a severe illness, he employed himself in dictating from memory a number that occurred to him as worth setting down.
The fate of this collection has been singular. The original edition' (a very small octavo volume dated 1625, but published about the middle of December 1624?) consisted of 280 apophthegms, with a short preface. Of this volume Dr. Rawley, in the first edition of the Resuscitatio (1657), makes no mention whatever, either where he enumerates the works composed during the last five years of Bacon's life, or in the perfect list of bis Lordship’s true works both in English and Latin” at the end of the volume. And his words, taken strictly, would seem to imply (since he cannot have been ignorant of its existence) that he did not acknowledge it as Bacon's. But I suppose he had either forgotten it, or did not think it important or original enough to be worth mentioning.
In 1658 there came forth a small volume, without any editor's name, under the following title: Witty Apophthegms delivered at several times and upon several occasions, by King James, King Charles, the Marquess of Worcester, Francis Lord Bacon, and Sir Thomas Moore. Collected and revised. In this volume the apophthegms attributed to Bacon are in all 184; of which 163 are copied verbatim from his own collection of 1625, and follow (with one or two slight exceptions, probably accidental) in the same order. The remaining 21, which are mostly of a very inferior character, are not added but interspersed.
In 1661 appeared a second edition, or rather a reissue, of the Resuscitatio, edited as before by Dr. Rawley, and with some additionș; among which was a collection of “ Apophthegms, new and old.” This, though introduced without a word of preface or advertisement from editor or publisher, was so far from being a reprint of the original collection of 1625, that I do not think the editor can have had a copy of it to refer to.
Apophthegmes new and old. Collected by the Right Honourable Francis Lo. Verulam Viscount St. Alban, London, Printed for Hanna Barret and Richard Whittaker, and are to be sold at the King's Head in Paul's Church-yard. 1625.
A copy in Gray's Inn Library has the date 1626: but appears to be in all other respects exactly the same.
* Chamberlain to Carlton, 18 Dec, 1624. Court and Times of James I., ii, p. 486.