SHYLOCK. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
PORTIA. Is he not able to discharge the money?
BASSANIO. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court; Yea, twice the sum: if that will not suffice, I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er, On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart: If this will not suffice, it must appear That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you Wrest once the law to your authority: To do a great right, do a little wrong; And curb this cruel devil of his will.
PORTIA. It must not be; there is no power in Venice Can alter a decree established: 'Twill be recorded for a precedent; And many an error, by the same example, Will rush into the state; it cannot be.
SHYLOCK. A Daniel come to judgement! yea, a Daniel! O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!
PORTIA. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
SHYLOCK. Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.
PORTIA. Shylock, there's thrice thy money offered thee.
SHYLOCK. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven: Shall I lay perjury upon my soul? No, not for Venice.
PORTIA. Why, this bond is forfeit: And lawfully by this the Jew may claim A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful; Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.
SHYLOCK. When it is paid according to the tenour. It doth appear you are a worthy judge; You know the law, your exposition Hath been most sound; I charge you by the law, Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar, Proceed to judgment: by my soul I swear, There is no power in the tongue of man To alter me: I stay here on my bond.
ANTONIO. Most heartily I do beseech the court To give the judgement.
PORTIA. Why then, thus it is. You must prepare your bosom for his knife.
SHYLOCK. O noble judge! O excellent young man!
PORTIA. For the intent and purpose of the law Hath full relation to the penalty, Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
SHYLOCK. 'Tis very true: O wise and upright judge! How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
PORTIA. Therefore, lay bare your bosom.
SHYLOCK. Ay, his breast: So says the bond;—Doth it not, noble judge? Nearest his heart, those are the very words.
PORTIA. It is so. Are there balance here, to weigh The flesh?
SHYLOCK. I have them ready.
PORTIA. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge, To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.
SHYLOCK. Is it so nominated in the bond?
PORTIA. It is not so express'd. But what of that? 'Twere good you do so much for charity.
SHYLOCK. I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.
PORTIA. Come, merchant, have you anything to say?"
Antonio answers, "But little." He is prepared for death, and takes leave of Bassanio. But Shylock is impatient. "We trifle time," he cries; "I pray thee, pursue sentence."
"PORTIA. A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine; The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
SHYLOCK. Most rightful judge!
PORTIA. And you must cut this flesh from off his breast; The law allows it; and the court awards it.
SHYLOCK. Most learned judge!—A sentence; come, prepare.
PORTIA. Tarry a little;—there is something else. This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood; The words expressly are, a pound of flesh: But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate Unto the state of Venice.
GRATIANO. O upright judge!—Mark, Jew;—O learned judge!
SHYLOCK. Is that the law?
PORTIA. Thyself shall see the act; For, as thou urgest justice, be assur'd, Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desir'st.
GRATIANO. O learned judge,—Mark, Jew;—a learned judge!
SHYLOCK. I take this offer then,—pay the bond thrice, And let the Christian go.
BASSANIO. Here is the money.
PORTIA. Soft; The Jew shall have all justice;—soft;—no haste;— He shall have nothing but the penalty.
GRATIANO. O Jew! An upright judge, a learned judge!
PORTIA. Therefore, prepare thee to cut off the flesh. Shed thou no blood; nor cut thou less, nor more, But just a pound of flesh: if thou tak'st more, Or less, than a just pound,—be it but so much As makes it light, or heavy, in the substance, Or the division of the twentieth part Of one poor scruple,—nay, if the scale do turn But in the estimation of a hair,— Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.
GRATIANO. A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew! Now, infidel, I have thee on the hip.
PORTIA. Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.
SHYLOCK. Give me my principal, and let me go.
BASSANIO. I have it ready for thee; here it is.
PORTIA. He hath refus'd it in the open court; He shall have merely justice, and his bond.
GRATIANO. A Daniel, still say I; a second Daniel! I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
SHYLOCK. Shall I not have barely my principal?
PORTIA. Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture, To be so taken at thy peril, Jew."
So, seeing himself beaten on all points, the Jew would leave the court. But not yet is he allowed to go. Not until he has been fined for attempting to take the life of a Venetian citizen, not until he is humiliated, and so heaped with disgrace and insult that we are sorry for him, is he allowed to creep away.
The learned lawyer is loaded with thanks, and Bassanio wishes to pay him nobly for his pains. But he will take nothing; nothing, that is, but the ring which glitters on Bassanio's finger. That Bassanio cannot give—it is his wife's present and he has promised never to part with it. At that the lawyer pretends anger. "I see, sir," he says:—
"You are liberal in offers: You taught me first to beg; and now, methinks, You teach me how a beggar should be answered."
Hardly have they parted than Bassanio repents his seemingly churlish action. Has not this young man saved his friend from death, and himself from disgrace? Portia will surely understand that his request could not be refused, and so he sends Gratiano after him with the ring. Gratiano gives the ring to the lawyer, and the seeming clerk begs Gratiano for his ring, which he, following his friend's example, gives.
In the last act of the play all the friends are gathered again at Belmont. After some merry teasing upon the subject of the rings the truth is told, and Bassanio and Gratiano learn that the skillful lawyer and his clerk were none other than their young and clever wives.
BOOKS TO READ
Among the best books of Shakespeare's stories are: Stories from Shakespeare, by Jeanie Lang. The Shakespeare Story-Book, by Mary M'Leod. Tales from Shakespeare (Everyman's Library), by C. and M. Lamb.
LIST OF SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS
Histories. - Henry VI (three parts); Richard III; Richard II; King John; Henry IV (two parts); Henry V; Henry VIII (doubtful if Shakespeare's).
Tragedies. - Titus Andronicus; Romeo and Juliet; Julius Caesar; Hamlet; King Lear; Macbeth; Timon of Athens; Antony and Cleopatra; Coriolanus.
Comedies. - Love's Labour's Lost; Two Gentlemen of Verona; Comedy of Errors; Merchant of Venice; Taming of the Shrew; A Midsummer Night's Dream; All's Well that Ends Well; Merry Wives of Windsor; Much Ado About Nothing; As You Like It; Twelfth Night; Troilus and Cressida; Measure for Measure; Pericles; Cymbeline; The Tempest; A Winter's Tale.
Chapter XLVIII JONSON—"EVERY MAN IN HIS HUMOUR"
OF all the dramatists who were Shakespeare's friends, of those who wrote before him, with him, and just after him, we have little room to tell. But there is one who stands almost as far above them all as Shakespeare stands above him. This is Ben Jonson, and of him we must speak.
Ben Jonson's life began in poverty, his father dying before he was born, and leaving his widow poorly provided for. When Ben was about two years old his mother married again, and this second husband was a bricklayer. Ben, however, tells us that his own father was a gentleman, belonging to a good old Scottish Border family, and that he had lost all his estates in the reign of Queen Mary. But about the truth of this we do not know, for Ben was a bragger and a swaggerer. He may not have belonged to this Scottish family, and he may have had no estates to lose. Ben first went to a little school at St. Martin's-in-the-fields in London. There, somehow, the second master of Westminster School came to know of him, became his friend, and took him to Westminster, where he paid for his schooling. But when Ben left school he had to earn a living in some way, so he became a bricklayer like his step-father, when "having a trowell in his hand he had a book in his pocket."*
He did not long remain a bricklayer, however, for he could not endure the life, and next we find him a soldier in the Netherlands. We know very little of what he did as a soldier, and soon he was home again in England. Here he married. His wife was a good woman, but with a sharp tongue, and the marriage does not seem to have been very happy. And although they had several children, all of them died young.
And now, like Shakespeare, Jonson became an actor. Like Shakespeare too, he wrote plays. His first play is that by which he is best known, called Every Man in His Humour. By a man's humor, Jonson means his chief characteristic, one man, for instance, showing himself jealous, another boastful, and so on.
It will be a long time before you will care to read Every Man in His Humour, for there is a great deal in it that you would neither understand nor like. It is a play of the manners and customs of Elizabethan times which are so unlike ours that we have little sympathy with them. And that is the difference between Ben Jonson and Shakespeare. Shakespeare, although he wrote of his own time, wrote for all time; Jonson wrote of his own time for his own time. Yet, in Every Man in His Humour there is at least one character worthy to live beside Shakespeare's, and that is the blustering, boastful Captain Bobadill. He talks very grandly, but when it comes to fighting, he thinks it best to run away and live to fight another day. If only to know Captain Bobadill it will repay you to read Every Man in His Humour when you grow up.
Here is a scene in which he shows his "humor" delightfully:—
"BOBADILL. I am a gentleman, and live here obscure, and to myself. But were I known to Her Majesty and the Lords— observe me—I would undertake, upon this poor head and life, for the public benefit of the State, not only to spare the entire lives of her subjects in general, but to save the one half, nay, three parts, of her yearly charge in holding war, and against what enemy soever. And how would I do it, think you?
EDWARD KNOWELL. Nay, I know not, nor can I conceive.
BOBADILL. Why thus, sir. I would select nineteen more, to myself, throughout the land. Gentlemen, they should be of good spirit, strong and able constitution. I would choose them by an instinct, a character that I have. And I would teach these nineteen the special rules, as your punto,* your reverso, your stoccata, your imbroccata, your passada, your montanto; till they could all play very near, or altogether, as well as myself. This done, say the enemy were forty thousand strong, we twenty would come into the field the tenth of March, or thereabouts, and we would challenge twenty of the enemy. They could not in their honour refuse us. Well, we would kill them. Challenge twenty more, kill them; twenty more, kill them; twenty more, kill them too. And thus would we kill every man his twenty a day. That's twenty score. Twenty score, that's two hundred. Two hundred a day, five days a thousand. Forty thousand; forty times five, five times forty; two hundred days kills them all up by computation. And this will I venture by poor gentleman-like carcase to perform, provided there be no treason practised upon us, by fair and discreet manhood; that is, civilly by the sword.
EDWARD KNOWELL. Why! are you so sure of your hand, Captain, at all times?
BOBADILL. Tut! never miss thrust, upon my reputation with you.
EDWARD KNOWELL. I would not stand in Downright's state then, an you meet him, for the wealth of any one street in London."
*This and the following are names of various passes and thrusts used in fencing. Punto is a direct hit, reverso a backward blow, and so on.
(Knowell says this because Bobadill and Downright have had a quarrel, and Downright wishes to fight the Captain.)
"BOBADILL. Why, sir, you mistake me. If he were here now, by this welkin, I would not draw my weapon on him. Let this gentleman do his mind; but I will bastinado him, by the bright sun, wherever I meet him.
MATTHEW. Faith, and I'll have a fling at him, at my distance.
EDWARD KNOWELL. Ods so, look where he is! yonder he goes. [DOWNRIGHT crosses the stage.
DOWNRIGHT. What peevish luck have I, I cannot meet with these bragging rascals?
BOBADILL. It is not he, is it?
EDWARD KNOWELL. Yes, faith, it is he.
MATTHEW. I'll be hanged then if that were he.
EDWARD KNOWELL. Sir, keep your hanging good for some greater matter, for I assure you that was he.
STEPHEN. Upon my reputation, it was he.
BOBADILL. Had I thought it had been he, he must not have gone so. But I can hardly be induced to believe it was he yet.
EDWARD KNOWELL. That I think, sir— [Re-enter DOWNRIGHT. But see, he is come again.
DOWNRIGHT. O, Pharaoh's foot, have I found you? Come, draw, to your tools. Draw, gipsy, or I'll thrash you.
BOBADILL. Gentlemen of valour, I do believe in thee. Hear me—
DOWNRIGHT. Draw your weapon then.
BOBADILL. Tall man, I never thought on it till now— Body of me, I had a warrant of the peace served on me, even now as I came along, by a water-bearer. This gentleman saw it, Master Matthew.
DOWNRIGHT. 'Sdeath! you will not draw! [DOWNRIGHT disarms BOBADILL and beats him.
MATTHEW runs away. BOBADILL. Hold! hold! under thy favour forbear.
DOWNRIGHT. Prate again, as you like this, you foist* you. Your consort is gone. Had he staid he had shared with you, sir. [Exit DOWNRIGHT.
BOBADILL. Well, gentlemen, bear witness, I was bound to the peace, by this good day.
EDWARD KNOWELL. No, fait, it's an ill day, Captain, never reckon it other. But, say you were bound to the peace, the law allows you to defend yourself. That will prove but a poor excuse.
BOBADILL. I cannot tell, sir. I desire good construction in fair sort. I never sustained the like disgrace, by heaven! Sure I was struck with a planet thence, for I had no power to touch my weapon.
EDWARD KNOWELL. Ay, like enough, I have heard of many that have been beaten under a planet. Go, get you to a surgeon! 'Slid! and these be your tricks, your passadoes, and your montantos, I'll none of them."
When Every Man in His Humour was acted, Shakespeare took a part in it. He and Jonson must have met each other often, must have known each other well. At the Mermaid Tavern all the wits used to gather. For there was a kind of club founded by Sir Walter Raleigh, and here the clever men of the day met to smoke and talk, and drink not a little. And among all the clever men Jonson soon came to be acknowledged as the king and leader. We have a pleasant picture of these friendly meetings by a man who lived then. "Many were the wit-combats," he says, "betwixt Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, which two I behold like a Spanish great gallion and an English Man of War: Master Jonson (like the former) was built far higher in learning; solid, but slow in his performances. Shakespeare, with the English Man of War, lesser in bulk but lighter in sailing, could turn with all tides, tack about, and take advantage of all winds, by the quickness of his wit and invention."*
*Thomas Fuller, Worthies.
Another writer says in a letter to Ben,
"What things have we seen, Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been So nimble, and so full of subtile flame As if that every one from whence they came Had meant to pit his whole wit in a jest."*
*F. Beaumont, Letter to Ben Jonson.
And so we get a picture of Ben lording it in taverns. A great good fellow, a stout fellow, he rolls his huge bulk about laying down the law.
So the years went on. Big Ben wrote and fought, quarreled and made friends, drank and talked, living always on the verge of poverty. At length, in 1603, the great Queen Elizabeth died, and James of Scotland came to the English throne. All the way as he journeyed he was greeted with rejoicing. There were everywhere plays and feasts given in his honor, and soon after he arrived in London a Masque written by Jonson was played before him. The new king was fond of such entertainments. He smiled upon Master Ben Jonson, and life became for him easier and brighter.
But shortly after this, Jonson, with two others, wrote a play in which some things were said against the Scots. With a Scottish king surrounded by Scottish lords, that was dangerous. All three soon found themselves in prison and came near losing their noses and ears. This was not the first time that Ben had been in prison, for soon after Every Man in His Humour was acted, he quarreled for some unknown reason with another actor. In the foolish fashion of the day they fought a duel over it, and Ben killed the other man. For this he was seized and put in prison, and just escaped being hanged. He was left off only with the loss of all his goods and a brand on the left thumb.
Now once more Jonson escaped. When he was set free, his friends gave a great feast to show their joy. But Ben had not learned his lesson, and at least once again he found himself in prison because of something he had written.
But in spite of these things the King continued to smile upon Ben Jonson. He gave him a pension and made him poet laureate, and it was now that he began to write the Masques for which he became famous. These Masques were dainty poetic little plays written for the court and often acted by the Queen and her ladies. There was much singing and dancing in them, and the dresses of the actors were gorgeous beyond description. And besides this, while the ordinary stage was still without any scenery, Inigo Jones, the greatest architect in the land, joined Ben Jonson in making his plays splendid by inventing scenery for them. This scenery was beautiful and elaborate, and was sometimes changed two or three times during the play. One of these plays called The Masque of Blackness was acted by the Queen and her ladies in 1605, and when we read the description of the scenery it makes us wonder and smile too at the remembrance of Wall and the Man in the Moon of which Shakespeare made such fun a few years earlier, and of which you will read in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Besides his Masques, Jonson wrote two tragedies, and a number of comedies, as well as other poems. But for a great part of his life, the part that must have been the easiest and brightest, he wrote Masques for the King and court and not for the ordinary stage. He knew his own power in this kind of writing well, and he was not modest. "Next himself," he said, "only Fletcher and Chapman could make a mask."* He found, too, good friends among the nobles. With one he lived for five years, another gave him money to buy books, and his library became his great joy and pride.
*Conversation of Ben Jonson with Drummond of Hawthornden.
Ben Jonson traveled too. For a time he traveled in France with Sir Walter Raleigh's son, while Sir Walter himself was shut up in the Tower. But Jonson's most famous journey is his walk to Scotland. He liked to believe that he belonged to a famous Border family, and wished to visit the land of his forefathers. So in the mid-summer of 1618 he set out. We do not know how long he took to make his lengthy walk, but in September he was comfortably settled in Leith, being "worthily entertained" by all the greatest and most learned men of the day. He had money enough for all his wants, for he was able to give a gold piece and two and twenty shillings to another poet less well off than himself. He was given the freedom of the city of Edinburgh and more than 200 pounds was spent on a great feast in his honor. About Christmas he went to pay a visit to a well-known Scottish poet, William Drummond, who lived in a beautiful house called Hawthornden, a few miles from Edinburgh. There he stayed two or three weeks, during which time he and his host had many a long talk together, discussing men and books. Drummond wrote down all that he could remember of these talks, and it is from them that we learn a good deal of what we know about our poet, a good deal, perhaps, not to his credit. We learn from them that he was vain and boastful, a loud talker and a deep drinker. Yet there is something about this big blustering Ben that we cannot help but like.
In January sometime, Jonson set his face homeward, and reached London in April or May, having taken nearly a year to pay his visit. He must have been pleased with his journey, for on his return he wrote a poem about Scotland. Nothing of it has come down to us, however, except one line in which he calls Edinburgh "The heart of Scotland, Britain's other eye."
The years passed for Jonson, if not in wealth, at least in such comfort as his way of life allowed. For we cannot ever think of him as happy in his own home by his own fireside. He is rather a king in Clubland spending his all freely and taking no thought for the morrow. But in 1625 King James died, and although the new King Charles still continued the poet's pension, his tastes were different from those of his father, and Jonson found himself and his Masques neglected. His health began to fail too, and his library, which he dearly loved, was burned, together with many of his unpublished manuscripts, and so he fell on evil days.
Forgotten at court, Jonson began once more to write for the stage. But now that he had to write for bread, it almost seemed as if his pen had lost its charm. The plays he wrote added nothing to his fame. They were badly received. And so at last, in trouble for to-morrow's bread, without wife or child to comfort him, he died on 8th August, 1637.
He was buried in Westminster, and it was intended to raise a fine tomb over his grave. But times were growing troublous, and the monument was still lacking, when a lover of the poet, Sir John Young of Great Milton, in Oxfordshire, came to do honor to his tomb. Finding it unmarked, he paid a workman 1s. 6d. to carve above the poet's resting-place the words, "O rare Ben Jonson." And perhaps these simple words have done more to keep alive the memory of the poet than any splendid monument could have done.
Chapter XLIX JONSON—"THE SAD SHEPHERD"
ALTHOUGH Ben Jonson's days ended sadly, although his later plays showed failing powers, he left behind him unfinished a Masque called The Sad Shepherd which is perhaps more beautiful and more full of music than anything he ever wrote. For Ben's charm did not lie in the music of his words but in the strength of his drawing of character. As another poet has said of him, "Ben as a rule—a rule which is proved by the exception—was one of the singers who could not sing; though, like Dryden, he could intone most admirably."*
The Sad Shepherd is a tale of Robin Hood. Here once more we find an old story being used again, for we have already heard of Robin Hood in the ballads. Robin Hood makes a great fest to all the shepherds and shepherdesses round about. All are glad to come, save one Aeglamon, the Sad Shepherd, whose love, Earine, has, he believes, been drowned. But later in the play we learn that Earine is not dead, but that a wicked witch, Mother Maudlin, has enchanted her, and shut her up in a tree. She had done this in order to force Earine to give up Aeglamon, her true lover, and marry her own wretched son Lorel.
When the play begins, Aeglamon passes over the stage mourning for his lost love.
"Here she was wont to go! and here! and here! Just where those daisies, pinks, and violets grow, The world may find the spring by following her, For other print her airy steps ne'er left. Her treading would not bend a blade of grass, Or shake the downy blow-ball from his stalk! But like the soft west wind she shot along, And where she went the flowers took thickest root— As she had sowed them with her odorous foot."
Robin Hood has left Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, Little John, and all his merry men to hunt the deer and make ready the feast. And Tuck says:
"And I, the chaplain, here am left to be Steward to-day, and charge you all in fee, To don your liveries, see the bower dressed, And fit the fine devices for the feast."
So some make ready the bower, the tables and the seats, while Maid Marian, Little John and others set out to hunt. Presently they return successful, having killed a fine stag. Robin, too, comes home, and after loving greetings, listens to the tale of the hunt. Then Marian tells how, when the huntsmen cut up the stag, they threw the bone called the raven's bone to one that sat and croaked for it.
"Now o'er head sat a raven, On a sere bough, a grown great bird, and hoarse! Who, all the while the deer was breaking up So croaked and cried for it, as all the huntsmen, Especially old Scathlock, thought it ominous; Swore it was Mother Maudlin, whom he met At the day-dawn, just as he roused the deer Out of his lair."
Mother Maudlin was a retched old witch, and Scathlock says he is yet more sure that the raven was she, because in her own form he has just seen her broiling the raven's bone by the fire, sitting "In the chimley-nuik within." While the talk went on Maid Marian had gone away. Now she returns and begins to quarrel with Robin Hood. Venison is much too good for such folk as he and his men, she says; "A starved mutton carcase would better fit their palates," and she orders Scathlock to take the venison to Mother Maudlin. Those around can scarce believe their ears, for
"Robin and his Marian are the sum and talk Of all that breathe here in the green-wood walk."
Such is their love for each other. They are "The turtles of the wood," "The billing pair." No one is more astonished than Robin Hood, as he cries:
"I dare not trust the faith of mine own senses, I fear mine eyes and ears: this is not Marian! Nor am I Robin Hood! I pray you ask her, Ask her, good shepherds, ask her all for me: Or rather ask yourselves, if she be she, Or I be I."
But Maid Marian only scolds the more, and at last goes away leaving the others in sad bewilderment. Of course this was not Maid Marian at all, but Mother Maudlin, the old witch, who had taken her form in order to make mischief.
Meanwhile the real Maid Marian discovers that the venison has been sent away to Mother Maudlin's. With tears in her eyes she declares that she gave no such orders, and Scathlock is sent to bring it back.
When Mother Maudlin comes to thank Maid Marian for her present, she is told that no such present was ever intended, and so she in anger curses the cook, casting spells upon him:
"The spit stand still, no broches turn Before the fire, but let it burn. Both sides and haunches, till the whole Converted be into one coal. The pain we call St. Anton's fire, The gout, or what we can desire, To cramp a cook in every limb, Before they dine yet, seize on him."
Soon Friar Tuck comes in. "Hear you how," he says, "Poor Tom the cook is taken! all his joints Do crack, as if his limbs were tied with points. His whole frame slackens; and a kind of rack, Runs down along the spindils of his back; A gout, or cramp, now seizeth on his head, Then falls into his feet; his knees are lead; And he can stir his either hand no more Than a dead stump, to his office, as before."
He is bewitched, that is certain. And certain too it is that Mother Maudlin has done it. So Robin and his men set out to hunt for her, while Friar Tuck and Much the Miller's son stay to look after the dinner in the poor cook's stead. Robin soon meets Mother Maudlin who has again taken the form of Maid Marian. But this time Robin suspects her. He seizes the witch by her enchanted belt. It breaks, and she comes back to her own shape, and Robin goes off, leaving her cursing.
Mother Maudlin then calls for Puck-hairy, her goblin. He appears, crying:
"At your beck, madam." "O Puck my goblin! I have lost my belt, The strong thief, Robin Outlaw, forced it from me,"
wails Mother Maudlin. But Puck-hairy pays little attention to her complaints.
"They are other clouds and blacker threat you, dame; You must be wary, and pull in your sails, And yield unto the weather of the tempest. You think your power's infinite as your malice, And would do all your anger prompts you to; But you must wait occasions, and obey them: Sail in an egg-shell, make a straw your mast, A cobweb all your cloth, and pass unseen, Till you have 'scaped the rocks that are about you.
MAUDLIN. What rocks about me?
PUCK. I do love, madam, To show you all your dangers—when you're past them! Come, follow me, I'll once more be your pilot, And you shall thank me.
MAUDLIN. Lucky, my loved Goblin!"
And here the play breaks off suddenly, for Jonson died and left it so. It was finished by another writer* later on, but with none of Jonson's skill, and reading the continuation we feel that all the interest is gone. However, you will be glad to know that everything comes right. The good people get happily married and all the bad people become good, even the wicked old witch, Mother Maudlin.
*F. G. Waldron.
Chapter L RALEIGH—"THE REVENGE"
SOME of you may have seen a picture of a brown-faced sailor sitting by the seashore, telling stories of travel and adventure to two boy. The one boy lies upon the sand with his chin in his hands listening but carelessly, the other with his hands clasped about his knees listens eagerly. His face is rapt, his eyes the eyes of a poet and a dreamer. This picture is called The Boyhood of Raleigh, and was painted by one of our great painters, Sir John Millais. In it he pictures a scene that we should like to believe was common in Sir Walter Raleigh's boyhood, but we cannot tell if it were really so or not. Beyond the fact that he was born in a white-walled thatched-roofed farmhouse, near Budleigh Salterton in Devonshire, about the year 1552, we know nothing of Raleigh's childhood. But from the rising ground near Hayes Barton, the house in which he was born, we catch sight of the sea. It seems not too much to believe that many a time Walter and his brother Carew, wandered through the woods and over the common the two and a half miles to the bay. So that from his earliest days Walter Raleigh breathed in a love and knowledge of the sea. We like to think these things, but we can only make believe to ourselves as Millais did when he went to Budleigh Salterton and painted that picture.
When still quite a boy, Walter Raleigh went to Oriel College, Oxford, but we know nothing of what he did there, and the next we hear of him is that he is fighting for the Huguenots in France. How long he remained in France, and what he did there beyond this fighting, we do not know. But this we know, that when he went to France he was a mere boy, with no knowledge of fighting, no knowledge of the world. When he left he was a man and a tried soldier, a captain and leader of men.
When next we hear of Raleigh he is in Ireland fighting the rebels. There he did some brave deeds, some cruel deeds, there he lived to the full the life of a soldier as it was in those rough times, making all Ireland ring with his name. But although Raleigh had won for himself a name among soldiers, he was as yet unknown to the Queen; his fortune was still unmade.
You have all heard the story of how Raleigh first met the Queen. The first notice we have of this story is in a book from which I have already quoted more than once—The Worthies of England.
"This Captain Raleigh," says Fuller, "coming out of Ireland to the English Court in good habit (his clothes being then a considerable part of his estate), found the Queen walking, till, meeting with a splashy place, she seemed to scruple going thereon. Presently Raleigh cast and spread his new plush cloak on the ground, whereon the Queen trod gently, rewarding him afterwards with many suits for his so free and seasonable tender of so fair a foot cloth."
Thomas Fuller, who wrote the book in which this story is found, was only a boy of ten when Raleigh died, so he could not have known the great man himself, but he must have heard many stories about him from those who had, and we need not disbelieve this one. It is one of those things which might very well have happened even if it did not.
And whether Raleigh first came into Queen Elizabeth's notice in this manner or not, after he did become known to her, he soon rose in her favor. He rose so quickly that he almost feared the giddy height to which he rose. According to another story of Fuller's, "This made him write in a glasse window, obvious to the Queen's eye,
'Fain would I climb, yet fear I to fall.'
"Her Majesty, either espying or being shown it, did underwrite:
'If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all.'
"However he at last climbed up by the stairs of his own desert."
Honors and favors were heaped upon Raleigh, and from being a poor soldier and country gentleman he became rich and powerful, the lord of lands in five counties, and Captain of the Queen's Own Body-Guard. Haughty of manner, splendid in dress, loving jewels more than even a woman does, Raleigh became as fine a courtier as he was a brave soldier. But soldier though Raleigh was, courtier though he was, loving ease and wealth and fine clothes, he was at heart a sailor and adventurer, and the sea he had loved as a boy called to him.
Like many another of his age Raleigh, hearing the call of the waves ever in his ears, felt the desire to explore tug at his heart-strings. For in those days America had been discovered, and the quest for the famous North-West passage had begun. And Raleigh longed to set forth with other men to conquer new worlds, to find new paths across the waves. But above all he longed to fight the Spaniards, who were the great sea kings of those days. Raleigh however could not be a courtier and a sailor at one and the same time. He was meanwhile high in the Queen's favor, and she would not let him go from her. So all that Raleigh could do, was to venture his money, and fit out a ship to which he gave his own name. This he sent to sail along with others under the command of his step-brother Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who was setting out upon a voyage of discovery. It was on this voyage that Sir Humphrey found and claimed Newfoundland as an English possession, setting up there "the Arms of England ingraven in lead and infixed upon a pillar of wood."* But the expedition was unfortunate, most of the men and ships were lost, Sir Humphrey himself being drowned on his way home. He was brave and fearless to the last. "We are as near to Heaven by sea as by land," he said, a short time before his ship went down. One vessel only "in great torment of weather and peril of drowning"* reached home safely, "all the men tired with the tediousness of so unprofitable a voyage to their seeming." Yet though they knew it not they had helped to lay the foundation of Greater Britain.
Nothing daunted by this loss, six months later Raleigh sent out another expedition. This time it was to the land south of Newfoundland that the ships took their way. There they set up the arms of England, and named the new possession Virginia in honor of the virgin Queen. This expedition was little more successful than Sir Humphrey Gilbert's, but nothing seemed to discourage Raleigh. He was bent on founding a colony, and again and yet again he sent out ships and men, spending all the wealth which the Queen heaped upon him in trying to extend her dominions beyond the seas. Hope was strong within him. "I shall yet live to see it an English nation," he said.
And while Raleigh's captains tried to found a new England in the New World, Raleigh himself worked at home to bring order into the vast estates the Queen had given to him in Ireland. This land had belonged to the rebel Earl of Desmond. At one time no doubt it had been fertile, but rebellion and war had laid it waste. "The land was so barren both of man and beast that whosoever did travel from one end of all Munster . . . . he should not meet man, woman, or child, saving in cities or towns, nor yet see any beast, save foxes, wolves, or the ravening beasts." And barren and desolate as it was when Raleigh received it, it soon became known as the best tilled land in all the country-side. For he brought workers and tenants from his old Devon home to take the place of the beggared or slain Irish. He introduced new and better ways of tilling, and also he brought to Ireland a strange new root. For it is interesting to remember that it was in Raleigh's Irish estates that potatoes were first grown in our Islands.
Raleigh took a great interest in these estates, so perhaps it was not altogether a hardship to him, finding himself out of favor with his Queen, to go to Ireland for a time. And although they had known each other before, it was then that his friendship with Spenser began. Spenser read his Faery Queen to Raleigh, and perhaps Raleigh read to Spenser his poem Cynthia written in honor of Queen Elizabeth. But of that poem nearly all has been lost. Elizabeth was not as yet very angry with Raleigh, still he felt the loss of her favor, for Spenser tells us:—
"His song was all a lamentable lay, Of great unkindness and of usage hard, Of Cynthia, the Lady of the Sea, Which from her presence faultless him debarred. And ever and anon with singults* rife, He cried out, to make his undersong, 'Ah! my love's Queen, and goddess of my life, Who shall me pity when thou doest me wrong?'"**
*Sobs. **"Colin Clout's come home again."
But Raleigh soon decided to return to court, and persuaded Spenser
"To wend with him his Cynthia to see, Whose grace was great and bounty most rewardful"*
You know how Spenser was received and how he fared. But Raleigh himself after he had introduced his friend did not stay long at court. Quarrels with his rivals soon drove him forth again.
It was soon after this that he published the first writing which gives him a claim to the name of author. This was an account of the fight between a little ship called the Revenge and a Spanish fleet. Although with the destruction of the Invincible Armada the sea power of Spain had been crippled, it had not been utterly broken, and still whenever Spanish and English ships met on the seas, there was sure to be battle. It being known that a fleet of Spanish treasure-ships would pass the Azores, islands in the mid- Atlantic, a fleet of English ships under Lord Thomas Howard was sent to attack them. But the English ships had to wait so long at the Azores for the coming of the Spanish fleet that the news of the intended attack reached Spain, and the Spaniards sent a strong fleet to help and protect their treasure-ships. The English in turn hearing of this sent a swift little boat to warn Lord Thomas. The warning arrived almost too late. Many of the Englishmen were sick and ashore, and before all could be gathered the fleet of fifty-three great Spanish ships was upon them. Still Lord Thomas managed to slip away. Only the last ship, the Revenge, commanded by the Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Grenville, lost the wind and was caught between two great squadrons of the Spanish. Whereupon Sir Richard "was persuaded," Sir Walter says, "by the Master and others to cut his main-sail, and cast about, and to trust to the sailing of the ship. . . . But Sir Richard utterly refused to turn from the enemy, alleging that he would rather choose to die, than to dishonour himself, his country, and her Majesty's ship, persuading his company that he would pass through the two squadrons, in despite of them."
For a little time it seemed as if Sir Richard's daring might succeed. But a great ship, the San Philip, came between him and the wind "and coming towards him, becalmed his sails in such sort, as the ship could neither make way, nor feel the helm: so huge and high-carged* was the Spanish ship. . . . The fight thus beginning at three of the clock of the afternoon continued very terrible all that evening. But the great San Philip having received the lower tier of the Revenge, discharged with cross-bar shot, shifted herself with all diligence from her sides, utterly misliking her first entertainment. . . . The Spanish ships were filled with companies of soldiers, in some two hundred, besides the mariners; in some five, in other eight hundred. In ours there were none at all beside the mariners, but the servants of the commanders and some few voluntary gentlemen only." And yet the Spaniards "were still repulsed, again and again, and at all times beaten back into their own ships, or into the seas."
*The meaning of the word is uncertain. It may be high-charged.
In the beginning of the fight one little store ship of the English fleet hovered near. It was small and of no use in fighting. Now it came close to the Revenge and the Captain asked Sir Richard what he should do, and "Sir Richard bid him save himself, and leave him to his fortune." So the gallant Revenge was left to fight alone. For fifteen hours the battle lasted, Sir Richard himself was sorely wounded, and when far into the night the fighting ceased, two of the Spanish vessels were sunk "and in many other of the Spanish ships great slaughter was made." "But the Spanish ships which attempted to board the Revenge, as they were wounded and beaten off, so always others came in their places, she having never less than two might galleons by her sides and aboard her. So that ere the morning, from three of the clock the day before, there had fifteen several Armadas* assailed her. And all so ill approved their entertainment, as they were, by the break of day, far more willing to hearken to a composition** than hastily to make any more assaults or entries.
*Armada here means merely a Spanish ship of war.
**An arrangement to cease fighting on both sides.
"But as the day increased so our men decreased. And as the light grew more and more, by so much more grew our discomforts. For none appeared in sight but enemies, saving one small ship called the Pilgrim, commanded by Jacob Whiddon, who hovered all night to see the success. But in the morning bearing with the Revenge, she was hunted like a hare amongst many ravenous hounds, but escaped.
"All the powder of the Revenge to the last barrel was now spent, all her pikes broken, forty of her best men slain, and the most part of the rest hurt. In the beginning of the fight she had but one hundred free from sickness and four score and ten sick, laid in hold upon the ballast. A small troop to man such a ship, and a weak garrison to resist so mighty an army. By those hundred all was sustained, the volleys, boarding and enterings of fifteen ships of war, besides those which beat her at large.
"On the contrary, the Spanish were always supplied with soldiers brought from every squadron; all manner of arms and power at will. Unto ours there remained no comfort at all, no hope, no supply either of ships, men, or weapons; the masts all beaten overboard, all her tackle cut asunder, her upper work altogether razed, and in effect evened she was with the water, but the very foundation of a ship, nothing being left overhead for flight or defence.
"Sir Richard finding himself in this distress and unable any longer to make resistance, having endured in this fifteen hours' fight the assault of fifteen several Armadas, all by turns aboard him, and by estimation eight hundred shot of great artillery besides many assaults and entries; and (seeing) that himself and the ship must needs be possessed of the enemy who were now all cast in a ring round about him, the Revenge not able to move one way or another, but as she was moved by the waves and billow of the sea, commanded the Master Gunner, whom he knew to be a most resolute man, to split and sink the ship, that thereby nothing might remain of glory or victory to the Spaniards: seeing in so many hours' fight, and with so great a navy, they were not able to take her, having had fifteen hours' time, above ten thousand men, and fifty and three sail of men of war to perform it withal. And (he) persuaded the company, or as many as he could induce, to yield themselves unto God, and to the mercy of none else, but as they had, like valiant resolute men, repulsed so many enemies, they should not now shorten the honour of their nation, by prolonging their own lives by a few hours, or a few days. The Master Gunner readily condescended and divers others. But the Captain and the Master were of another opinion, and besought Sir Richard to have care of them, alleging that the Spaniard would be as ready to entertain a composition as they were willing to offer the same. And (they said) that there being divers sufficient and valiant men yet living, and whose wounds were not mortal, they might do their country and their Prince acceptable service hereafter. And whereas Sir Richard alleged that the Spaniards should never glory to have taken one ship of her Majesty, seeing they had so long and so notably defended themselves; they answered that the ship had six foot water in hold, three shot under water, which were so weakly stopped as with the first working of the sea, she must needs sink, and was besides so crushed and bruised, as she could never be removed out of the place.
"And as the matter was thus in dispute, and Sir Richard refusing to hearken to any of those reasons, the Master of the Revenge (while the Captain won unto him the greater party) was convoyed aboard the General Don Alfonso Bacan. Who (finding none overhasty to enter the Revenge again, doubting lest Sir Richard would have blown them up and himself, and perceiving by the report of the Master of the Revenge his dangerous disposition) yielded that all their lives should be saved, the company sent for England, and the better sort to pay such reasonable ransom as their estate would bear, and in the mean season to be free from galley or imprisonment. To this he so much the better condescended as well, as I have said, for fear of further loss and mischief to themselves, as also for the desire he had to recover Sir Richard Grenville, whom for his notable valour he seemed greatly to honour and admire.
"When this answer was returned, and that safety of life was promised, the common sort being now at the end of their peril the most drew back from Sir Richard and the Master Gunner, (it) being no hard matter to dissuade men from death to life. The Master Gunner finding himself and Sir Richard thus prevented and mastered by the greater number, would have slain himself with a sword, had he not been by force with-held and locked into his cabin. Then the General sent many boats aboard the Revenge, and divers of our men fearing Sir Richard's disposition, stole away aboard the General and other ships. Sir Richard thus over- matched was sent unto by Alfonso Bacan to remove out of the Revenge, the ship being marvellous unsavoury, filled with blood and bodies of dead, and wounded men, like a slaughterhouse.
"Sir Richard answered he might do with his body what he list, for he esteemed it not. And as he was carried out of the ship he swooned, and reviving again desired the company to pray for him.
"The General used Sir Richard with all humanity, and left nothing unattempted that tended to his recovery, highly commending his valour and worthiness, and greatly bewailing the danger in which he was, being unto them a rare spectacle, and a resolution seldom approved, to see one ship turn toward so many enemies, to endure the charge and boarding of so many huge Armadas, and to resist and repel the assaults and entries of so many soldiers.
"There were slain and drowned in this fight well near one thousand of the enemies, and two special commanders. . . . besides divers others of special account.
"Sir Richard died as it is said, the second or third day aboard the General and was by them greatly bewailed. What became of his body, whether it were buried in the sea or on the land, we known not. The comfort that remaineth to his friends is, that he hath ended his life honourably in respect of the reputation won to his nation and country and of the same to his posterity, and that being dead, he hath not outlived his own honour."
This gallant fight of the little Revenge against the huge navy of Spain is one of the great things in the story of the sea; that is why I have chosen it out of all that Sir Walter wrote to give you as a specimen of English prose in Queen Elizabeth's time. As long as brave deeds are remembered, it will be told how Sir Richard Grenville "walled round with wooden castles on the wave" bid defiance to the might and pride of Spain, "hoping the splendour of some lucky star."* The fight was a hopeless one from the very beginning, but it was as gallant a one as ever took place. Even his foes were forced to admire Sir Richard's dauntless courage, for when he was carried aboard Don Alfonso's ship "the captain and gentlemen went to visit him, and to comfort him in his hard fortune, wondering at his courageous stout heart for that he showed not any sign of faintness nor changing of colour. But feeling the hour of death to approach, he spake these words in Spanish and said, 'Here die I, Richard Grenville, with a joyful and quiet mind, for that I have ended my life as a true soldier ought to do, and hath fought for his country, Queen, religion, and honour, whereby my soul most joyfully departeth out of this body, and shall always leave behind it an everlasting fame of a valiant and true soldier that hath done his duty as he was bound to do.' When he had finished these or other like words he gave up the Ghost, with great and stout courage, and no man could perceive any true signs of heaviness in him."**
*Gervase Markham. **Linschoten's Large Testimony in Hakluyt's Voyages.
Poets of the time made ballads of this fight. Raleigh wrote of it as you have just read, and in our own day the great laureate Lord Tennyson made the story live again in his poem The Revenge. Tennyson tells how after the fight a great storm arose:
"And or ever that evening ended a great gale blew And a wave like the wave that is raised by an earthquake grew, Till it smote on their hulls and their sails and their masts and their flags, And the whole sea plunged and fell on the shot-shatter'd navy of Spain. And the little Revenge herself went down by the island crags To be lost evermore in the main."
So neither the gallant captain nor his little ship were led home to the triumph of Spain.
It is interesting to remember that had it not been for the caprice of the Queen, Raleigh himself would have been in Sir Richard Grenville's place. For he had orders to go on this voyage, but at the last moment he was recalled, and Sir Richard was sent instead.
Chapter LI RALEIGH—"THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD"
SOON after the fight with the Revenge, the King of Spain made ready more ships to attack England. Raleigh then persuaded Queen Elizabeth that it would be well to be before hand with the Spaniards and attack their ships at Panama. So to this end a fleet was gathered together. But the Queen sent only two ships, various gentlemen provided others, and Raleigh spent every penny of his own that he could gather in fitting out the remainder. He was himself chosen Admiral of the Fleet. So at length he started on an expedition after his own heart.
But he had not gone far, when a swift messenger was sent to him ordering him to return. Unwillingly he obeyed, and when he reached home he was at once sent to the Tower a prisoner. This time the Queen was really angry with him; in her eyes Raleigh's crime was a deep one, for he had fallen in love with one of her own maids of honor, Mistress Elizabeth Throgmorton, and the Queen had discovered it. Elizabeth allowed none of her favorites to love any one but herself, so she punished Raleigh by sending him to the Tower.
Mistress Throgmorton was also made a prisoner. After a time, however, both prisoners were set free, though they were banished from court. They married and went to live at Sherborne where Raleigh busied himself improving his beautiful house and laying out the garden. For though set free Raleigh was still in disgrace. But we may believe that he found some recompense for his Queen's anger in his wife's love.
In his wife Raleigh found a life-long comrade. Through all good and evil fortune she stood by him, she shared his hopes and desires, she sold her lands to give him money for his voyages, she shared imprisonment with him when it came again, and after his death she never ceased to mourn his loss. How Raleigh loved her in return we learn from the few letters written to her which have come down to us. She is "Sweetheart" "Dearest Bess," and he tells to her his troubles and his hopes as to a staunch and true friend.
We cannot follow Raleigh through all his restless life, it was so full and varied that the story of it would fill a long book. He loved fighting and adventure, he loved books too, and soon we find him back in London meeting Ben Jonson and Shakespeare, and all the great writers of the age at the Mermaid Club. For Raleigh knew all the great men of his day, among them Sir Robert Bruce Cotton of whom you heard in connection with the adventures of the Beowulf Manuscript.
But soon, in spite of his love for his wife, in spite of his interest in his beautiful home, in spite of his many friends, Raleigh's restless spirit again drove him to the sea, and he set out on a voyage of discovery and adventure. This time he sailed to Guiana in South America, in search of Eldorado, the fabled city of gold. And this time he was not called back by the Queen, but although he reached South America and sailed up the Orinoco and the Caroni he "returned a beggar and withered"* without having found the fabled city. Yet his belief in it was as strong as ever. He had not found the fabled city but he believed it was to be found, and when he came home he wrote an account of his journey because some of his enemies said that he had never been to Guiana at all but had been hiding in Cornwall all the time. In this book he said that he was ready again to "lie hard, to fare worse, to be subjected to perils, to diseases, to ill savours, to be parched and withered"* if in the end he might succeed.
*Raleigh's Discovery of Guiana.
Raleigh was ready to set off again at once to discover more of Guiana. But instead he joined the Fleet and went to fight the Spanish, who were once more threatening England, and of all enemies Raleigh considered the Spaniards the greatest.
Once again the English won a splendid victory over Spain. Before the town of Cadiz eight English ships captured or destroyed thirty Spanish great and little. They took the town of Cadiz and razed its fortifications to the ground. Raleigh bore himself well in this fight, so well, indeed, that even his rival, Essex, was bound to confess "that which he did in the sea-service could not be bettered."
And now after five years' banishment from the Queen's favor, Raleigh was once more received at court. But we cannot follow all the ups and downs of his court life, for we are told "Sir Walter Raleigh was in and out at court, so often that he was commonly called the tennis ball of fortune." And so the years went on. Raleigh became a Member of Parliament, and was made Governor of Jersey. He fought and traveled, attended to his estates in Ireland, to his business in Cornwall, to his governorship in Jersey. He led a stirring, busy life, fulfilling his many duties, fighting his enemies, until in 1603 the great Queen, whose smile or frown had meant so much to him, died.
Then soon after the new king came to the throne, it was seen that Raleigh's day at court was indeed at an end. For James had been told that Sir Walter was among those who were unwilling to receive him as king. Therefore he was little disposed to look graciously on the handsome daring soldier-sailor.
One by one Raleigh's posts of honor were taken from him. He was accused of treason and once more found himself a prisoner in the Tower. He was tried, and in spite of the fact that nothing was proved against him, he was condemned to die. The sentence was changed, however, to imprisonment for life.
Raleigh was not left quite lonely in the Tower. His wife and children, whom he dearly loved, were allowed to come to live beside him. The governor was kind to him and allowed his renowned prisoner to use his garden. And there in a little hen- house Raleigh amused himself by making experiments in chemistry, and discovering among other things how to distill fresh water from salt water. He found new friends too in the Queen and in her young son Henry, Prince of Wales. It was a strange friendship and a warm one that grew between the gallant boy- prince of ten and the tried man of fifty. Prince Henry loved to visit Raleigh in the Tower and listen to the tales of his brave doings by sea and land in the days when he was free. Raleigh helped Prince Henry to build a model ship, and the Prince asked Raleigh's advice and talked over with him all his troubles. His generous young heart grieved at the though of his friend's misfortunes. "Who but my father would keep such a bird in such a cage," he said with boyish indignation. And it was for this boy friend that Raleigh began the book by which we know him best, his History of the World. Never has such a great work been attempted by a captive. To write the history of even one country must mean much labor, much reading, much thought. To write a history of the world still more. And I have told you about Raleigh because with him begins an interest in history beyond the bounds of our own island. Before him our historians had only written of England.
It gives us some idea of the large courage of Raleigh's mind when we remember that he was over fifty when he began this tremendous piece of work for the sake of a boy he loved. Raleigh labored at this book for seven years or more. He was allowed to have his own books in prison. Sir Robert Cotton lent him others, and learned friends came to talk over his book with him and help him. And so the pile of written sheets grew. But the book was never finished, for long before the first volume was ready the brave young prince for whom it was written died.
To Raleigh, this was the cruelest blow fate ever dealt him, for with the death of Prince Henry died his hope of freedom. In spite of his long imprisonment, Raleigh had never lost hope of one day regaining his freedom. Prince Henry just before his death had wrung an unwilling promise from the King his father that Raleigh should be set free. But when the Prince died the King forgot his promise.
"O eloquent, just and mighty death!" Raleigh says in the last lines of his book, "Whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded, what none hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world hath flattered, thou only hast cast out of the world and despised; thou hast drawn together all the far stretching greatness, all the pride, cruelty, and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two narrow words Hic Jacet.
"Lastly, whereas this book by the title it hath, calls itself, the first part of The General History of the World, implying a second and third volume, which I also intended and have hewn out, besides many other discouragements, persuading my silence, it hath pleased God to take that glorious prince out of the world, to whom they were directed; whose unspeakable and never enough lamented loss hath taught me to say with Job, my heart is turned to mourning and my organ into the voice of them that weep."
Raleigh begins his great book with the Creation and brings it down to the third Macedonian war, which ended in 168 B.C. So you see he did not get far. But although when he began he had intended to write much more, he never meant to bring his history down to his own time. "I know that it will be said by many," he writes in his preface, "that I might have been more pleasing to the reader if I had written the story of mine own times, having been permitted to draw water as near the well-head as another. To this I answer that whosoever in writing a modern history, shall follow truth too near the heels, it may haply strike out his teeth."
Raleigh feels it much safer to write "of the elder times." But even so, he says there may be people who will think "that in speaking of the past I point at the present," and that under the names of those long dead he is showing the vices of people who are alive. "But this I cannot help though innocent," he says. Raleigh's fears were not without ground and at one time his history was forbidden by King James "for being too saucy in censuring princes. He took it much to heart, for he thought he had won his spurs and pleased the King extraordinarily," He had hoped to please the King and win freedom again, but his hopes were shattered.
At last, however, the door of his prison was opened. It was a golden key that opened it. For Raleigh promised, if he were set free, to seek once more the fabled Golden City, and this time he swore to find it and bring home treasure untold to his master the King.
So once more the imprisoned sea-bird was free, and gathering men and ships he set forth on his last voyage. He set forth bearing with him all his hopes, all his fortune. For both Raleigh and his wife almost beggared themselves to get money to fit out the fleet, and with him as captain sailed his young son Walter.
A year later Raleigh returned. But he returned without his son, with hopes broken, fortune lost. Many fights and storms had he endured, many hardships suffered, but he had not found the Golden City. His money was spent, his ships shattered, his men in mutiny, and hardest of all to bear, his young son Walter lay dead in far Guiana, slain in a fight with Spaniards. How Raleigh grieved we learn from his letter to his wife, "I was loath to write," he says, "because I knew not how to comfort you; and, God knows, I never knew what sorrow meant till now. . . . Comfort your heart, dearest Bess, I shall sorrow for us both, I shall sorrow less because I have not long to sorrow, because not long to live. . . . I have written but that letter, for my brains are broken, and it is a torment for me to write, and especially of misery. . . . The Lord bless and comfort you that you may bear patiently the death of your most valiant son."
Raleigh came home a sad and ruined man, and had the pity of the King been as easily aroused as his fear of the Spaniards he had surely been allowed to live out the rest of his life in peaceful quiet. But James, who shuddered at the sight of a drawn sword, feared the Spaniards and had patched up an imaginary peace with them. And now when the Spanish Ambassador rushed into the King's Chamber crying "Pirates! Pirates!" Raleigh's fate was sealed.
Raleigh had broken the peace in land belonging to "our dear brother the King of Spain" said James, therefore he must die.
Thus once again, Raleigh found himself lodged in the Tower. But so clearly did he show that he had broken no peace where no peace was, that it was found impossible to put him to death because of what he had done in Guiana. He was condemned to death, therefore, on the old charge of treason passed upon him nearly fifteen years before. He met death bravely and smiling. Clad in splendid clothes such as he loved, he mounted the scaffold and made his farewell speech to those around.
"'Tis a sharp medicine, but it is a sound cure for all diseases," he said smiling to the Sheriff as he felt the edge of the ax. Then he laid his head upon the block.
"Thus," says the first writer of Raleigh's life, "have we seen how Sir Walter Raleigh who had been one of the greatest scourges of Spain, was made a sacrifice to it."
"So may we say to the memory of this worthy knight," says Fuller, "'Repose yourself in this our Catalogue under what topic you please, statesman, seaman, soldier, learned writer or what not.' His worth unlocks our cabinets and proves both room and welcome to entertain him . . . so dexterous was he in all his undertakings in Court, in camp, by sea, by land, with sword, with pen."*
BOOKS TO READ
Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley may be read in illustration of this chapter.
Chapter LII BACON—NEW WAYS OF WISDOM
WHEN we are little, there are many things we cannot understand; we puzzle about them a good deal perhaps, and then we ask questions. And sometimes the grown-ups answer our question and make the puzzling things clear to us, sometimes they answer yet do not make the puzzling things any clearer to us, and sometimes they tell us not to trouble, that we will understand when we grow older. Then we wish we could grow older quick, for it seems such a long time to wait for an answer. But worst of all, sometimes the grown-ups tell us not to talk so much and not to ask so many question.
The fact is, though perhaps I ought not to tell you, grown-ups don't know everything. That is not any disgrace either, for of course no one can know everything, not even father or mother. And just as there are things which puzzle little folks, there are things which puzzle big folks. And just as among little folks there are some who ask more questions and who "want to know" more than others, so among grown-ups there are some who more than others seek for the answer to those puzzling question. These people we call philosophers. The word comes from two Greek words, philos loving, sophos wise, and means loving wisdom. In this chapter I am going to tell you about Francis Bacon, the great philosopher who lived in the times of Elizabeth and James. I do not think that I can quite make you understand what philosophy really means, or what his learned books were about, nor do I think you will care to read them for a long time to come. But you will find the life of Francis Bacon very interesting. It is well, too, to know about Bacon, for with him began a new kind of search for wisdom. The old searchers after truth had tried to settle the questions which puzzled them by turning to imaginary things, and by mere thinking. Bacon said that we must answer these questions by studying not what was imaginary, but what was real—by studying nature. So Bacon was not only a lover of truth but was also the first of our scientists of to-day. Scientist comes from the Latin word scio to know, and Science means that which we know by watching things and trying things,—by making experiments. And although Bacon did not himself find out anything new and useful to man, he pointed out the road upon which others were to travel.
It was upon a cold day in January in 1560 that Francis Bacon "came crying into the world."* He was born in a fine house and was the child of great people, his father being Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. But although his father was one of the most important men in the kingdom, we know little about Francis as a boy. We know that he met the Queen and that he must have been a clever little boy, for she would playfully call him her "young Lord Keeper." Once too when she asked him how old he was, he answered, "Two years younger than your Majesty's happy reign." So if you know when Elizabeth began to reign you will easily remember when Bacon was born.
Francis was the youngest of a big family, and when he was little more than twelve years old he went to Trinity College, Cambridge. Even in those days, when people went to college early, this was young.
For three years Bacon remained at college and then he went to France with the English ambassador. While he was in France his father died and Bacon returned home. At eighteen he thus found himself a poor lad with his future to make and only his father's great name and his own wits to help him. He made up his mind to take Law as his profession. So he set himself quietly to study.
He worked hard, for from the very beginning he meant to get on, he meant to be rich and powerful. So he bowed low before the great, he wrote letters to them full of flattery, he begged and promised.
Bacon is like a man with two faces. We look at one and we see a kindly face full of pity and sorrow for all wrong and pain that men must suffer, we see there a longing to help man, to be his friend. We look at the other face and there we see the greed of gain, the desire for power and place. Yet it may be that Bacon only strove to be great so that he might have more power and freedom to be pitiful. In spite of Bacon's hard work, in spite of his flattery and begging, he did not rise fast. After five years we find him indeed a barrister and a Member of Parliament, but among the many great men of his age he was still of little account. He had not made his mark, in spite of the fact that the great Lord Burleigh was his uncle, in spite of the fact that Elizabeth had liked him as a boy. Post after post for which he begged was given to other men. He was, he said himself, "like a child following a bird, which when he is nearest flieth away and lighteth a little before, and then the child after it again, and so in infinitum. I am weary of it."
But one friend at court he found in the Earl of Essex, the favorite of Elizabeth, the rival of Raleigh. Essex, however, who could win so much favor for himself, could win none for Francis Bacon. Being able to win nothing from the Queen, on his own account Essex gave his friend an estate worth about 1800 pounds. But although that may have been some comfort to Bacon, it did not win for him greatness in the eyes of the world, the only greatness for which he longed. As to the Queen, she made use of him when it pleased her, but she had no love for him. "Though she cheered him much with the bounty of her countenance," says an early writer of Bacon's life, his friend and chaplain,* "yet she never cheered him with the bounty of her hand." It was, alas, that bounty of the hand that Bacon begged for and stooped for all through his life. Yet he cared nothing for money for its own sake, for what he had, he spent carelessly. He loved to keep high state, he loved grandeur, and was always in debt.
* William Rawley.
Essex through all his brilliant years when the Queen smiled upon him stuck by his friend, for him he spent his "power, might, authority and amity" in vain. When the dark hours came and Essex fell into disgrace, it was Bacon who forgot his friendship.
You will read in history-books of how Essex, against the Queen's orders, left Ireland, and coming to London, burst into her presence one morning before she was dressed. You will read of how he was disgraced and imprisoned. At first Bacon did what he could for his friend, and it was through his help that Essex was set free. But even then, Bacon wrote to the Earl, "I confess I love some things much better than I love your lordship, as the Queen's service, her quiet and contentment, her honour, her favour, the good of my country, and the like. Yet I love few persons better than yourself, both for gratitude's sake, and for your own virtues."
Set free, Essex rushed into passionate, futile rebellion. Again he was made prisoner and tried for high treason. It was then that Bacon had to choose between friend and Queen. He chose his Queen and appeared in court against his friend. To do anything else, Bacon told himself, had been utterly useless. Essex was now of no more use to him, he was too surely fallen. To cling to him could do not good, but would only bring the Queen's anger upon himself also. And yet he had written: "It is friendship when a man can say to himself, I love this man without respect of utility. . . . I make him a portion of my own wishes."
He wrote that as a young man, later he saw nothing in friendship beyond use.
The trial of Essex must have been a brilliant scene. The Earl himself, young, fair of face, splendidly clad, stood at the bar. He showed no fear, his bearing was as proud and bold as ever, "but whether his courage were borrowed and put on for the time or natural, it were hard to judge."* The Lord Treasurer, the Lord High Steward, too were there and twenty-five peers, nine earls, and sixteen barons to try the case. Among the learned counsel sat Bacon, a disappointed man of forty. There was nothing to single him out from his fellows save that he was the Earl's friend, and as such might be looked upon to do his best to save him.
As the trial went on, however, Bacon spoke, not to save, but to condemn. Did no memory of past kindliness cross his mind as he likened his friend to "Cain, that first murderer," as he complained to the court that too much favor was shown to the prisoner, that he had never before heard "so ill a defense of such great and notorious treasons." The Earl answered in his own defense again and yet again. But at length he was silent. His case was hopeless, and he was condemned to death. He was executed on 25th February, 1601.
Perhaps Bacon could not have saved his friend from death, but had he used his wit to try at least to save instead of helping to condemn, he would have kept his own name from a dark blot. But a greater betrayal of friendship was yet to follow. Though Essex had been wild and foolish the people loved him, and now they murmured against the Queen for causing his death. Then it was thought well, that they should know all the blackness of his misdeeds, and it was Bacon who was called upon to write the story of them.
Even from this he did not shrink, for he hoped for great rewards. But, as before, the Queen used him, and withheld "the bounty of her hand"; from her he received no State appointment. He did indeed receive 1200 pounds in money. It was scarcely as much as Essex had once given him out of friendship. To Bacon it seemed too small a reward for his betrayal of his friend, even although it had seemed to mean loyalty to his Queen. "The Queen hath done somewhat for me," he wrote, "though not in the proportion I hoped." And so in debt and with a blotted name, Bacon lived on until Queen Elizabeth died. But with the new King his fortunes began to rise. First he was made Sir Francis Bacon, then from one honor to another he rose until he became at last Lord High Chancellor of England, the highest judge in the land. A few months later, he was made a peer with the title of Baron Verulam. A few years later at the age of sixty he went still one step higher and became Viscount St. Albans.
Bacon chose the name of Baron Verulam from the name of the old Roman city Verulamium which was afterwards called St. Albans. It was near St. Albans that Bacon had built himself a splendid house, laid out a beautiful garden, and planted fine trees, and there he kept as great state as the King himself.
He had now reached his highest power. He had published his great work called the Novum Organum or New Instrument in which he taught men a new way of wisdom. He was the greatest judge in the land and a peer of the realm. He had married too, but he never had any children, and we know little of his home life.
It seemed as if at last he had all he could wish for, as if his life would end in a blaze of glory. But instead of that in a few short weeks after he became Viscount St. Albans, he was a disgraced and fallen man.
He had always loved splendor and pomp, he had always spent more than he could afford. Now he was accused of taking bribes, that is, he was accused of taking money from people and, instead of judging fairly, of judging in favor of those who had given him most money. He was accused, in fact, of selling justice. That he should sell justice is the blackest charge that can be brought against a judge. At first Bacon could not believe that any one would dare to attack him. But when he heard that it was true, he sank beneath the disgrace, he made no resistance. His health gave way. On his sick-bed he owned that he had taken presents, yet to the end he protested that he had judged justly. He had taken the bribes indeed, but they had made no difference to his judgments. He had not sold justice.
He made his confession and stood to it. "My lords," he said, "it is my act, my hand, my heart. I beseech your lordships be merciful to a broken reed."
Bacon was condemned to pay a fine of 40,000 pounds, to be imprisoned during the King's pleasure, never more to have office of any kind, never to sit in Parliament, "nor come within the verge of the Court."
"I was the justest judge that was in England these fifty years," said Bacon afterwards. "But it was the justest censure in Parliament that was these two hundred years."
Bacon's punishment was not as heavy as at first sight it seems, for the fine was forgiven him, and "the king's pleasure," made his imprisonment in the Tower only a matter of a few days.
And now that his life was shipwrecked, though he never ceased to long to return to his old greatness, he gave all his time to writing and to science. He spent many peaceful hours in the garden that he loved. "His lordship," we are told, "was a very contemplative person, and was wont to contemplate in his delicious walks." He was generally accompanied by one of the gentlemen of his household "that attended him with ink and paper ready to set down presently his thoughts."*
He was not soured or bitter. "Though his fortunes may have changed," says one of his household,* "yet I never saw any change in his mien, his words, or his deeds, towards any man. But he was always the same both in sorrow and joy, as a philosopher ought to be."
*Peter Boerner, his apothecary and secretary.
Bacon was now shut out from honorable work in the world, but he had no desire to be idle. "I have read in books," he wrote, "that it is accounted a great bliss to have Leisure with Honour. That was never my fortune. For time was I had Honour without Leisure; and now I have Leisure without Honour. But my desire is now to have Leisure without Loitering." So now he lived as he himself said "a long cleansing week of five years." Then the end came.
It was Bacon's thirst for knowledge that caused his death. One winter day when the snow lay on the ground he drove out in his coach. Suddenly as he drove along looking at the white-covered fields and roads around, the thought came to him that food might be kept good by means of snow as easily as by salt. He resolved to try, so, stopping his coach, he went into a poor woman's cottage and bought a hen. The woman killed and made ready the hen, but Bacon was so eager about his experiment that he stuffed it himself with snow. In doing this he was so chilled by the cold that he became suddenly ill, too ill to return home. He was taken to a house near "where they put him into a good bed warmed with a pan"* and there after a few days he died.
This little story of how Bacon came by his death gives a good idea of how he tried to make use of his philosophy. He was not content with thinking and speculating, that is, looking at ideas. Speculate comes from the Latin speculari, to spy out. He wanted to experiment too. And although in those days no one had thought about it, we now know that Bacon was quite right and that meat can be kept by freezing it. And it is pleasant to know that before Bacon died he was able to write that the experiment had succeeded "excellently well."
In his will Bacon left his name and memory "to men's charitable speeches, to foreign nations and to the next ages," and he was right to do so, for in spite of all the dark shadows that hang about his name men still call him great. We remember him as a great man among great men; we remember him as the fore-runner of modern science; we remember him for the splendid English in which he wrote.
And yet, although Bacon's English is clear, strong, and fine, although Elizabethan English perhaps reached in him its highest point, he himself despised English. He did not believe that it was a language that would live. And as he wanted his books to be read by people all over the world and in all time to come, he wrote his greatest books in Latin. He grieved that he had wasted time in writing English, and he had much that he wrote in English translated into Latin during his lifetime.
It seems strange to us now that in an age when Spenser and Shakespeare had show the world what the English tongue had power to do that any man should have been able to disbelieve in its greatness. But so it was, and Bacon translated his books into Latin so that they might live when English books "were not."
I will not weary you with a list of all the books Bacon wrote. Although it is not considered his greatest work, that by which most people know him is his Book of Essays. By an essay, Bacon meant a testing or proving. In the short chapters of his essays he tries and proves many things such as Friendship, Study, Honor; and when you come to read these essays you will be surprised to find how many of the sentences are known to you already. They have become "household words," and without knowing it we repeat Bacon's wisdom. But we miss in them something of human kindliness. Bacon's wisdom is cool, calm, and calculating, and we long sometimes for a little warmth, a little passion, and not so much "use."
The essays are best known, but the New Atlantis is the book that you will best like to read, for it is something of a story, and of it I will tell you a little in the next chapter.
Chapter LIII BACON—THE HAPPY ISLAND
ATLANTIS was a fabled island of the Greeks which lay somewhere in the Western Sea. That island, it was pretended, sank beneath the waves and was lost, and Bacon makes believe that he finds another island something like it in the Pacific Ocean and calls it the New Atlantis. Here, as in More's Utopia, the people living under just and wise laws, are happy and good. Perhaps some day you will be interested enough to read these two books together and compare them. Then one great difference will strike you at once. In the Utopia all is dull and gray, only children are pleased with jewels, only prisoners are loaded with golden chains. In the New Atlantis jewels and gold gleam and flash, the love of splendor and color shows itself almost in every page.
Bacon wastes no time in explanation but launches right into the middle of his story. "We sailed from Peru," he says, "(where we had continued by the space of one whole year) for China and Japan, by the South Sea, taking with us victuals for twelve months." And through all the story we are not told who the "we" were or what their names or business. There were, we learn, fifty-one persons in all on board the ship. After some month's good sailing they met with storms of wind. They were driven about now here, now there. Their food began to fail, and finding themselves in the midst of the greatest wilderness of waters in the world, they gave themselves us as lost. But presently one evening they saw upon one hand what seemed like darker clouds, but which in the end proved to be land.
"And after an hour and a half's sailing, we entered into a good haven, being the port of a fair city, not great indeed, but well built, and that gave a pleasant view from the sea.
"And we, thinking every minute long till we were on land, came close to the shore, and offered to land. But straightways we saw divers of the people, with bastons in their hands, as it were forbidding us to land; yet without any cries or fierceness, but only as warning us off by signs that they made. Whereupon being not a little discomforted, we were advising with ourselves what we should do. During which time there made forth to us a small boat, with about eight persons in it; whereof one of them had in his hand a tipstaff* of a yellow cane, tipped at both ends with blue, who came aboard our ship, without any show of distrust at all. And when he saw one of our number present himself somewhat before the rest, he drew forth a little scroll of parchment (somewhat yellower than our parchment, and shining like the leaves of writing-tables, but otherwise soft and flexible), and delivered it to our foremost man. In which scroll were written in ancient Hebrew, and in ancient Greek, and in good Latin of the School, and in Spanish, these words: 'Land ye not, none of you. And provide to be gone from this coast within sixteen days, except ye have further time given you. Meanwhile, if ye want fresh water, or victual, or help for your sick, or that your ship needeth repair, write down your wants, and ye shall have that which belongeth to mercy.'
*Staff of office.
"This scroll was signed with a stamp of Cherubim's wings, not spread but hanging downwards, and by them a cross.
"This being delivered, the officer returned, and left only a servant with us to receive our answer. Consulting thereupon among ourselves, we were much perplexed. The denial of landing and hasty warning us away troubled us much. On the other side, to find that the people had languages and were so full of humanity, did comfort us not a little. And above all, the sign of the cross to that instrument was to us a great rejoicing, and as it were a certain presage of good.
"Our answer was in the Spanish tongue: 'That for our ship, it was well; for we had rather met with calms and contrary winds than any tempests. For our sick, they were many, and in very ill case, so that if they were not permitted to land, they ran danger of their lives.'
"Our other wants we set down in particular; adding, 'that we had some little store of merchandise, which if it pleased them to deal for, it might supply our wants without being chargeable unto them.'
"We offered some reward in pistolets unto the servant, and a piece of crimson velvet to be presented to the officer. But the servant took them not, nor would scarce look upon them; and so left us, and went back in another little boat which was sent for him."
About three hours after the answer had been sent, the ship was visited by another great man from the island. "He had on him a gown with wide sleeves, of a kind of water chamelot of an excellent azure colour, far more glossy than ours. His under apparel was green, and so was his hat, being in the form of a turban, daintily made, and not so huge as the Turkish turbans. And the locks of his hair came down below the brims of it. A reverend man was he to behold.
"He came in a boat, gilt in some part of it, with four persons more only in that boat, and was followed by another boat, wherein were some twenty. When he was come within a flight shot of our ship, signs were made to us that we should send forth some to meet him upon the water; which we presently did in our shipboat, sending the principal man amongst us save one, and four of our number with him.
"When we were come within six yards of their boat they called to us to stay, and not to approach further, which we did. And thereupon the man whom I before described stood up, and with a loud voice in Spanish, asked 'Are ye Christians?'
"We answered, 'We were'; fearing the less, because of the cross we had seen in the subscription.
"At which answer the said person lifted up his right hand towards heaven, and drew it softly to his mouth (which is the gesture they use when they thank God) and then said: 'If ye will swear (all of you) by the merits of the Saviour that ye are not pirates, nor have shed blood lawfully or unlawfully within forty days past, you may have licence to come on land.'
"We said, 'We were all ready to take that oath.'
"Whereupon one of those that were with him, being (as it seemed) a notary, made an entry of this act. Which done, another of the attendants of the great person, which was with him in the same boat, after his lord had spoken a little to him, said aloud: 'My lord would have you know, that it is not of pride or greatness that he cometh out aboard your ship; but for that in your answer you declare that you have many sick amongst you, he was warned by the Conservator of Health of the city that he should keep a distance.'
"We bowed ourselves towards him, and answered, 'We were his humble servants; and accounted for great honour and singular humanity towards us that which was already done; but hoped well that the nature of the sickness of our men was not infectious.'
"So he returned; and a while after came the notary to us aboard our ship, holding in his hand a fruit of that country, like an orange, but of colour between orange-tawny and scarlet, which cast a most excellent odour. He used it (as it seemeth) for a preservative against infection.
"He gave us our oath; 'By the name of Jesus and of his merits,' and after told us that the next day by six of the clock in the morning we should be sent to, and brought to the Strangers' House (so he called it), where we should be accommodated of things both for our whole and for our sick.
"So he left us. And when we offered him some pistolets he smiling said, 'He must not be twice paid for one labour,' meaning, as I take it, that he had salary sufficient of the State for his service. For (as I after leaned) they call an officer that taketh rewards, twice paid."
So next morning the people landed from the ship, and Bacon goes on to tell us of the wonderful things they saw and learned in the island. The most wonderful thing was a place called Solomon's House. In describing it Bacon was describing such a house as he hoped one day to see in England. It was a great establishment in which everything that might be of use to mankind was studied and taught. And Bacon speaks of many things which were only guessed at in his time. He speaks of high towers wherein people watched "winds, rain, snow, hail and some of the fiery meteors also." To-day we have observatories. He speaks of "help for the sight far above spectacles and glasses," also "glasses and means to see small and minute bodies perfectly and distinctly, as the shapes and colours of small flies and worms, grains and flaws in gems, which cannot otherwise be seen." To-day we have the microscope. He says "we have also means to convey sounds in trunks and pipes, in strange lines and distances," yet in those days no one had dreamed of a telephone. "We imitate also flights of birds; we have some degrees of flying in the air. We have ships and boats for going under water," yet in those days stories of flying-ships or torpedoes would have been treated as fairy tales.
Bacon did not finish The New Atlantis. "The rest was not perfected" are the last words in the book and it was not published until after his death. These words might almost have been written of Bacon himself. A great writer, a great man,—but "The rest was not perfected." He put his trust in princes and he fell. Yet into the land of knowledge—
"Bacon, like Moses, led us forth at last; The barren wilderness he passed, Did on the very border stand Of the blest promised land, And from the mountain's top of his exalted wit Saw it himself and shew'd us it. But life did never to one man allow Time to discover worlds and conquer too; Nor can so short a line sufficient be, To fathom the vast depths of nature's sea. The work he did we ought t'admire, And were unjust if we should more require From his few years, divided twixt th' excess Of low affliction and high happiness. For who on things remote can fix his sight That's always in a triumph or a fight."*
*Abraham Cowley, To the Royal Society.
You will like to know, that less than forty years after Bacon's death a society called The Royal Society was founded. This is a Society which interests itself in scientific study and research, and is the oldest of its kind in Great Britain. It was Bacon's fancy of Solomon's House which led men to found this Society. Bacon was the great man whose "true imagination"* set it on foot, and although many years have passed since then, the Royal Society still keeps its place in the forefront of Science.