Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/432

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [9*s.ix.MAY3i,i902.

and Hippomenes, which he details and ex- plains in 'The Wisdom of the Ancients.' He uses this note in the 'Advancement of Learn- ing,' in the * De Augmentis,' in 'Filum Laby- rinthi,' twice in the 'Interpretation of Nature,' and twice in the 'Novum Orga- num,' besides elsewhere ; and each time that he uses it he does so in a fixed manner. In the ' Novum Organum ' he, in a manner, excuses his fondness for the illustration, for he brings it in with the remark " to use a common allusion of ours." The following quotation shows how Bacon uses his ' Pro- mus ' jottings :

" But here by use and action, we do not mean the applying of knowledge to lucre, for that diverts the advancement of knowledge, as the golden ball thrown before Atalanta, which, while she stoops to take up, the race is hindered.

Declinat cursus, aurumque volubile tollit." ' Advancement of Learning,' book i.

Surely, if Bacon wrote Shakespeare, we should be able to find something better to fit the ' Promus ' entry than the following, which Mrs. Pott, who forgot, or did not know, that Bacon used his note and used it often, adduces from the plays : " You have a nimble wit : I think 'twas made of Atalanta's heels" ('As You Like It,' Act III. sc. ii.).

Besides, among Shakespeare's contempo- raries the allusion to the fable is very com- mon, Lyly referring to it many times. Here is one case :

" Let Atalanta runne never so swiftelye, slice will looke back upon Hyppomanes." 'Euphues and his England,' 1580.

If the following occurred in Shakespeare it would be fatal to his claims, and a large library would be speedily stocked with the books that would dethrone him :

"The onely enemie to sloth is contention and emulation ; as to propose one man to my selfe, that s the onely myrrour of our age, and strive to out goe him in vertue. But this strife must be so tempred, that we fal not from the eagernes of praise, to the envying of their persons ; for, then, we leave running to the goale of glorie, to spume at a stone that lyeth in our way ; and so bid Atlante, in the midst of her course, xtoup to take up the golden apple her enemie scattered in her way, and was put-runne by Hippomenes." Thomas Nashe, 'Pierce Penilesse,' 159*2.

Dr. Theobald deals with the following 'Promus' notes : 403, 1,168, "Art of for- getting"; 114, 1,232, "Well to forget"; and remarks :

"Artificial forgetfulness is not, I believe, referred to in the prose works : nor is it likely to appear except in ' Works of Invention,' but it is frequent in Shakespeare."

Now "artificial forgetfulness" is referred to in the prose works ; it does not occur in

'Works of Invention,' and Bacon's manner of using his note is not only characteristic of himself, but it is altogether different from the manner of Shakespeare. The note is used in a letter from Essex to the Queen, written by Bacon :

"And, indeed, madam, I had never thought it possible that your majesty could have so disin- terested yourself of me ; nor that you had been so perfect in the art of forgetting," &c. Montague, vol. iii. p. 55, col. 1.

Passages illustrative of the art of for- getting are to be found not only in Shake- speare, but in almost every writer of the time. In Sidney's ' Arcadia,' book ii., Pyrocles, after making a hasty rejoinder to Philoclea, regrets his speech, and Sidney writes, "And then he fain would have remembered to have forgot himself." The saying was a proverbial one, and it occurs in Young's ' Night Thoughts,' iv. 1. 57 :

I Ve been so long remembered I 'm forgot ; and, more closely, Dr. Wolcot's ' George III.':

" Remember to forget to ask Mr. Whitbread to dinner."

Frequently we come across notes in the ' Proraus ' which, at first sight, seem to be original or Bacon's own ; but further research proves them to be merely common sayings. The following is a good case :

No. 15-. "All is not in years to me ; somewhat is in houres well spent."

Bacon uses the note several times, and in a variety of ways ; nevertheless the Baconians, who have the sight of eagles for coincidences, or what they believe to be coincidences, in Shakespeare and Marlowe, have been as blind as moles once more. They do not seem to think that Bacon was wise when he wrote that it is better to milk the standing cow than to make a blind rush after the cows that are running away. For the sake of comparison I will quote one passage from Bacon and one that Mrs. Pott adduced from Shakespeare :

" I make not love to the continuance of days, but to the goodness of them." Essay of ' Death.'

"I am only old in judgment and understanding." ' 2 Henry IV.,' Act I. sc. ii.

The Shakespeare quotation is a thread- bare saying, and it has no relation to the ' Promus ' entry. The saying in the ' Promus ' is from Seneca, and it is alluded to twice in Euphues.' Ben Jonson, too, makes use of it in ' Catiline' :

' The chiefe beauty of life consisteth not in the numbring of dayes, but in the using of vertuous dooings." ' Euphues,' p. 183.

" Cicero. The vicious count their years, virtuous their acts."' Catiline,' Act III. sc. i.

C. CRAWFORD. (To be continued.)