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culty of reconciling them with the personality and circumstances of the reputed author, would never have been heard of. Because, when the case is examined, it is found that there is no other recorded instance in which there appears to be such a complete repression of personality and detachment from conscious motive. Aristophanes, for example, was a politician, so was Aeschylus; and, to come nearer home, so was Milton. And who can pretend that each of these poets was not animated by definite purpose and bent on impressing it on the world in which they lived? But Shakespeare, who was greater than any of them, had no particular interest in his work, and merely wrote in the air!

But does it never occur to those who take this view that, in the case of Shakespeare, there may have been reasons for the apparent repression of personality, which may largely account for the difference in this respect which is noticed between his work and that of all other great examples? No doubt his genius may have been more sensitive and plastic than theirs, but that would not, by itself, account for his being apparently an isolated phenomenon. There is a much more natural explanation in the danger of the times. I Tudor times there was little freedom of speech and none of writing. Does not Shakespeare himself complain of “Art made tongue-tied by authority?" The press was strictly censored and players and playwrights were under the severest control. A notable example of this is found in the proceedings about Daniel's play, "Philotas." He was charged with having intended in it allusions, unfavourable to the authorites, to the trial of the Earl of Essex, and though it is quite obvious that they were so intended, he denied it in a submission and apology to the minister, Robert Cecil, and to his patron, Mountjoy. And who could blame him? The poor man, faced with the prospect of imprisonment and possible mutiliation, was in terror of his life. Naturally then, Shakespeare, who touches on almost every conceivable subject, had to be careful how he expressed himself if he was not to come into conflict with the authorities, ecclesiastical and civil. Hence it is that with wonderful craft, he avoids, as far as possible, any direct expression of opinion. That he

was able to go as far as he did, notably in such a play as Richard II, which greatly incensed and alarmed the Queen, is, in my opinion, to be accounted for only on the supposition that behind the ostensible author a person of position and influence lay concealed.

Now it is a remarkable thing that though, according to the critics, the Tempest was probably Shakespeare's latest work, it was placed by the players, who are supposed to have collected and revised his writings, at the beginning of the volume. Somebody, therefore, must have attached some special importance to it. Under my theory of the authorship, the explanation is simple. If, as I suppose, the author was Francis Bacon, it was he who placed it in that position, and he did so because it embodied one of his most cherished ideas. Let us examined the play from that point of view.

It was one of Bacon's favourite ideas as well as firmest convictions that under the myths of antiquity deep truths were concealed. In order to prove this he wrote the Wisdom of the Ancients, a most fascinating work, not only for the language, but also for the powers of reflection and the extraordinary ingenuity which it displays. That work alone would justify Shelley in his opinion that Bacon was a poet. He was also a philosopher, and some people may find it hard to believe that a writer of philosophy could be a poet: but Coleridge, who knew something about poetry, said that a man could not be a great poet who was not a philosopher. Bacon, however, was not a philosopher of the schools. A contemporary who disliked him said he "wrote philosophy like a Lord Chancellor," in other words rhetorically, as an amateur. And De Maistre, who had a low opinion of Bacon's philosophy, objects against it that he could seldom resist the temptation of being a poet, and that the concrete image presented itself before everything to his mind and satisfied it. This is perfectly true, and as a writer of systematic philosophy Bacon is a failure. His philosophic work, if it is read at all, is now read for its eloquence, suggestiveness and wealth of analogy.

Bacon also held the view that knowledge, that is real knowledge as he regarded it, was not at the time for the

generality but only for the few. His reason for taking this view was that new ideas such as were his about the researches into nature-would meet with too much opposition if an attempt was made to promulgate them in a direct and popular way. In this he was fully justified by the then state of opinion. He conceived the idea accordingly that important truth could be laid up for future use, when men became more enlightened, under the form of parable, like the myths as he regarded them, and he explains this in the following very interesting passage in the preface to his Wisdom of the Ancients.

"Men have proposed to answer two different and contradictory ends by the use of parable; for parables serve as well to instruct or illustrate as to wrap up and envelop, so that though, for the present, we drop the concealed use, and suppose the ancient fables to be vague, undeterminate things, formed for amusement, still the other use must remain, and can never be given up. And every man of any learning must readily allow that this method of instructing is grave, sober, or exceedingly useful, and sometimes necessary in the sciences, as it opens an easy and familiar passage to the human understanding, in all new discoveries that are abstruse and out of the road of vulgar opinions. Hence, in the first ages, when such inventions and conclusions of the human reason as are now trite and common were new and little known, all things abounded with fables, parables, similes, comparisons, and allusions, which were not intended to conceal, but to inform and teach, whilst the minds of men continued rude and unpractised in matters of subtilty and speculation, or even impatient and in a manner incapable of receiving such things as did not directly fall under and strike the senses. For as hieroglyphics were in use before writing, so were parables in use before arguments. And even to this day if any man would let new light in upon the human understanding, and conquer prejudice, without raising contests, animosities, opposition, or disturbance, he must still go by the same path, and have recourse to the like method of allegory, metaphor, and allusion.

"To conclude, the knowledge of early age was either great or happy; great if they by design made this use of trope and figure; happy, if whilst they had other views, they afforded matter and occasion to such noble contemplations."

Now, it would not be at all surprising that a man who held these views, if he was a poet and also a master of knowledge (as the great poets have been), should have been attracted by the idea of giving effect to them. The dream of Bacon's life, which, as he himself tells us, persisted throughout his numerous activities and never left him, was that through his investigations the life of man should be alleviated and improved. This, he held, could be brought about, not through the methods of scholastic speculation which had hitherto held the field, but only through experimental inquiry by which nature might be made to yield up her secrets and place them at the service of man. His philosophy' as he wrote it in Latin, is really only a long challenge and exhortation on this theme, illustrated by general principles and instances. Among these are found certain conclusions as to the nature of the soul. Derived from Aristotle and Italian sources they are worked up into a theory which, in some respects, is peculiar to Bacon, that the soul consists of two elements, the one non-physical and divine, the other wholly physical. Scientific inquiry was confined to the latter; the former was relegated to "revelation," under the principle, Da fidei quae fidei sunt. Leaving out of account, therefore, the nature of the non-physical element, in which consisted the 'reasonable soul, his philosophy proceeds to deal with the physical, or, as he termed it, the 'sensible' soul, which was regarded by him, for all practical purposes, as the motive power in life. It was the source not only of all physical life, continuity, growth and decay, but of all feeling, including memory and imagination. This soul he regarded as a sort of sub-physical essence which pervaded the whole human frame, and he described it under the term 'spirits.' 'Spirits,' however, were not confined to human beings and other living organisms but pervaded all nature and were the source of material forms and the differentiation of substances. To account for the difference between organic and inorganic life he had


here to make an arbitrary distinction between 'living' or 'vital spirits' and 'lifeless spirits.' "Spirits," he writes are in all tangible bodies," and in "animate bodies" there are two kinds," lifeless spirits, such as are in bodies inanimate, and in addition to them a living spirit." Indeed in working out his theory, so far does his imagination play havoc with his logic that in places he attributes to these 'spirits,' even the 'lifeless' ones, desires and feelings. Notably he insists, again and again, that 'spirits' are enclosed, as by a garment, in all tangible bodies, from which they seek to escape, and thus are always in motion. In the Natural History he goes so far as to invest them with a sort of fanciful personality: "Putrefaction is the work of the spirits of bodies which ever are unquiet to get forth and congregate with the air, and to enjoy the sunbeams."1 From that to Ariel is not a very long step.

There occurs in the Natural History a speculation as to the place in nature of these 'spirits,' which anticipates the discoveries of science, showing that the great forces are contained in the infinitely small, and is a remarkable example of the intuitive powers of Bacon, when the state of knowledge of that time is taken into account. He writes:

"The knowledge of man (hitherto) hath been determined by the view or sight; so that whatsoever is invisible, either in respect of the fineness of the body itself, or the smallness of the parts, or of the subtilty of the motion, is little inquired. And yet these be the things which govern nature principally; and without which you cannot make any true analysis and indication of the proceedings of nature. The spirits or pneumaticals, that are in all tangible bodies, are scarce known."2

Bacon's theory of 'spirits' may perhaps best be summarised in the following passages taken from his History of Life and Death3 :

1 IV. 328.

• I. 98.

• Historia Vitæ et Mortis; translation published by Spedding.

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