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Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,

Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues

Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike

As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd,
But to fine issues, nor Nature never lends

The smallest scruple of her excellence

But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,

Both thanks and use.

In his Essay Of Great Place Bacon writes:

"But power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring. For good thoughts, though God accept them, yet towards men are little better than good dreams, except they be put in act.”

And in the Advancement he says:

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"But men must know that in this theatre of man's life it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers on: But for contemplation which should be finished in itself, without casting beams upon society, assuredly divinity knoweth it not."

The Winter's Tale. The only external evidence for the date of this play is in the note of a contemporary that he saw a performance of it in 1611, from which it may be presumed that it was composed about that time, especially as the style suggests that it was one of Shakespeare's latest plays. I have only two points to notice about it, one being, Lord Campbell's, that Cleon and Dion, the messengers who brought back the response from the oracle of Delphi, are sworn to the genuineness of the document they produce almost in the very words now used by the Lord Chancellor when an officer presents at the bar of the House of Lords the copy of a record of a court of justice. The other is the well-known one of the similarity between Perdita's list of flowers and that of Bacon's in his Essay "Of Gardens":


For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savour all the winter long :

1 Chandos edition, p. 233.


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院 'For December and January, and the latter part of November,

you must take such things as are green all the winter "—and in the

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Sir, the year growing ancient

Not yet on summer's death, or on the birth

Of trembling winter, the fairest flowers of the season
Are our carnations and streak'd gillivors.

"In July come gilliflowers of all varieties."

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"But those which perfume the air most delightfully, not passed by as the rest, but being trodden upon and crushed, are three, that is, burnet, wild thyme, and water-mints. Therefore you are to set whole alleys of them, to have the pleasure when you walk or tread."


O, Proserpina,

For the flowers now, that frighted thou lett'st fall

From Dis's waggon! daffodils

That come before the swallow dares, and take

The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,

But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes

Or Cytherea's breath; pale primroses,

bold oxlips and


The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds,

The flower-de-luce being one !

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"For March there come violets, especially the single blue, which are the earliest; the early daffodil. In April follow the double white violet, the wall-flower, the stock-gilliflower, the cowslip, flowerde-luces, and lilies of all natures.

There is another sentence in this Essay of Bacon's which contains a similar thought to that in the opening lines of Twelfth Night, and it carries a similar lyrical tone:

"And because the breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air (where it comes and goes, like the warbling of music) than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for that delight than to know what be the flowers and plants that do best perfume the air . . . . that which, above all others, yields the sweetest smell in the air is the violet.”

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That strain again! It had a dying fall:

O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet south
That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing and giving odour.

It might be supposed, on a first reading, that Bacon's recommendations for the garden were a horticultural list based on practical experiment, as no doubt they were to some extent, because Bacon loved his gardens. All the same, though I am no expert in such matters, I suspect it is largely imaginative and selected for the beauty and fitness of the sounds and associations of the words. Indeed the conclusion of the Essay almost suggests this, where he practically says that the garden he had drawn out is an ideal, suitable for great princes"-" and in this I have spared for no cost."


Cymbeline. This play is noted by the same contemporary as having been seen by him at a performance probably in 1610 or 1611. As in the case of the Winter's Tale the style suggests a late origin, and it may therefore have been composed about the same time. The story is derived partly from Holinshed, partly from Boccaccio's Decameron, and in part it appears to be original. As no translation is known to have existed of Boccaccio's tale, it is suggested that Shakespeare obtained the material from a tract called Westward for Smelts which gave a version of it. This theory, however, breaks down, as "some extremely striking details which Shakespeare has in common with Boccaccio are not to be found in that book,1

1 English Dramatic Literature, A. W. Ward.

I have not much to say about this play. I have already alluded to the dirge. It contains one of the most marvellous lyrics in Shakespeare's works: "Hark, hark! the lark," rising up, as it were, out of a manure-heap; a good illustration of Bacon's saying, "The sun entereth into sinks and is not defiled."

The story which is based on an absurd, as well as tasteless, wager of Posthumus, is lacking in reality and consequently in interest; on the other hand the incident is the means through which Shakespeare develops the character of Imogen, than which there is no more finely chiselled piece of work in the Plays. But I have no licence in this book for general criticism.

1 I quote this from memory; but the only place where I can find it at the time of writing is in the Latin of the Novum Organum : "Sol enim aeque palatia et cloacas ingreditur, neque tamen polluitur." De Interp. cxx. I have since found something like it in Meres, Palladis Tamia, quoted from a Latin author, so probably Bacon got the idea for it from his reading.



(See analysis in Table of Contents)

Under the influence of certain theories of art, originally, I believe, imported from Germany, it has come to be regarded in this country almost as heresy to suggest that a writer, in producing a work of imagination, had any 'purpose' in his mind, or was influenced by any other consideration than that of producing a 'work of art.' This view also obtains support from some of the popular conceptions about poetry under which it is supposed that the poet is dependent for what he says and the way he says it on the inspiration of the moment, which is regarded as something quite independent of rational thought or conscious experience. Nor is such an impression confined to the uninstructed populace ; it is even shared by such a representative writer as Sir Sidney Lee, who warns us, almost in tones of menace, that we must not regard the Tempest of Shakespeare as anything more than the irresponsible play of poetic fancy," whatever that may be; that it was "by accident, and not by design, that in Ariel appear to be discernible the capabilities of the human intellect when detached from physical attributes"; and that Caliban did not owe his existence to any "conscious endeavour to typify human nature before the evolution of moral sentiment." But as I do not intend to suggest that Ariel represents the human intellect, or even the human imagination, or that in Caliban there is any allusion to the evolution of the moral sense, I shall hope to escape excommunication.

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I often think that this theory of art was invented to account for the works of Shakepeare, and, but for the diffi

1"A Life of William Shakespeare."

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