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reported of this prince: the admiration of whom, when I consider him not as Alexander the Great, but as Aristotle's scholar, hath carried me too far.
As for Julius Cæsar, the excellency of his learning needeth not to be argued from his education, or his company, or his speeches; but in a further degree doth declare itself in his writings and works; whereof some are extant and permanent, and some unfortunately perished. For first, we see there is left unto us that excellent history of his own wars, which he intitled only a Commentary, wherein all succeeding times have admired the solid weight of matter, and the real passages and lively images of actions and persons, expressed in the greatest propriety of words and perspicuity of narration that ever was; which that it was not the effect of a natural gift, but of learning and precept, is well witnessed by that work of his intitled De Analogia, being a grammatical philosophy, wherein he did labour to make this same vox ad placitumo to become vox ad licitum, and to reduce custom of speech to congruity of speech ; and took as it were the picture of words from the life of reason.
So we receive from him, as a monument both of his power and learning, the then reformed computation of the year; well expressing, that he took it to be as great a glory to himself to observe and know the law of the heavens as to give law to men upon the earth.
So likewise in that book of his Anti-Cato, it may easily appear that he did aspire as well to victory of wit as victory of war; undertaking therein a conflict against the greatest champion with the pen that then lived, Cicero the orator.
So again in his book of Apophthegms which he collected, we see that he esteemed it more honour to make himself but a pair of tables to take the wise and pithy words of others, than to have every word of his own to be made an apophthegm or an oracle; as vain princes, by custom of flattery, pretend to do. And yet if I should enumerate divers of his speeches, as I did those of Alexander, they are truly such as Salomon noteth, when he saith, Verba sapientum tanquam aculei, et tanquam clavi in altum defixi : [the words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fixed deep in:] whereof I will only recite three, not so delectable for elegancy, but admirable for vigour and efficacy.
| This passage is translated without addition or alteration. But Bacon seems to bave changed his opinion afterwards upon the point in question. For in the sixth book of the De Augmentis, c, I., he intimates a suspicion that Cæsar's book was not a grammatical philosophy, but only a set of precepts for the formation of a pure, perfect, and unaffected style See Vol. I. p. 654.
As first, it is reason he be thought a master of words, that could with one word appease a mutiny in his army; which was thus. The Romans, when their generals did speak to their army, did use the word Milites; but when the magistrates spake to the people, they did use the word Quirites. The soldiers were in tumult, and seditiously prayed to be cashiered; not that they so meant, but by expostulation thereof to draw Cæsar to other conditions; wherein he being resolute not to give way, after some silence, he began his speech, Ego, Quirites; which did admit them already cashiered; wherewith they were so surprised, crossed, and confused, as they would not suffer him to go on in his speech, but relinquished their demands, and made it their suit to be again called by the name of Milites.
The second speech was thus : Cæsar did extremely affect the name of king; and some were set on, as he passed by, in popular acclamation to salute him king; whereupon, finding the cry weak and poor, he put it off thus in a kind of jest, as if they had mistaken his surname; Non Rex sum, sed Cæsar : [I am not King, but Cæsar:] a speech, that if it be searched, the life and fulness of it can scarce be expressed: for first it was a refusal of the name, but yet not serious : again it did signify an infinite confidence and magnanimity, as if he presumed Cæsar was the greater title; as by his worthiness it is come to pass till this day : but chiefly it was a speech of great allurement towards his own purpose ; as if the state did strive with him but for a name, whereof mean families were vested; for Rex was a surname with the Romans, as well as King is with us.
The last speech which I will mention, was used to Metellus; when Cæsar, after war declared, did possess himself of the city of Rome; at which time entering into the inner treasury to take the money there accumulate, Metellus being tribune forbade him: whereto Cæsar said, That if he did not desist, he would lay him dead in the place; and presently taking himself up, he added, Young man, it is harder for me to speak it than to do it. Adolescens, durius est mihi hoc dicere quàm facere. A speech compounded of the greatest terror and greatest clemency that could proceed out of the mouth of man.
But to return and conclude with him: it is evident himseir knew well his own perfection in learning, and took it upon him; as appeared when upon occasion that some spake what a strange resolution it was in Lucius Sylla to resign his dictature, he scoffing at him, to his own advantage, answered,
That Sylla could not skill of letters, and therefore knew not how to dictate.
And here it were fit to leave this point touching the concurrence of military virtue and learning; (for what example would come with any grace after those two of Alexander and Cæsar?) were it not in regard of the rareness of circumstance that I find in one other particular, as that which did so suddenly pass from extreme scorn to extreme wonder; and it is of Xenophon the philosopher, who went from Socrates' school into Asia, in the expedition of Cyrus the younger against king Artaxerxes. This Xenophon at that time was very young, and never had seen the wars before; neither had any command in the army, but only followed the war as a voluntary, for the love and conversation of Proxenus his friend. He was present when Falinus came in message from the great king to the Grecians, after that Cyrus was slain in the field, and they a handful of men left to themselves in the midst of the king's territories, cut off from their country by many navigable rivers, and many hundred miles. The message imported that they should deliver up their arms, and submit themselves to the king's inercy. To which message before answer was made, divers of the army conferred familiarly with Falinus; and amongst the rest Xenophon happened to say, Why Falinus, we have now but these two things left, our arms and our virtue ; and if we yield up our arms, how shall we make use of our virtue ? Whereto Falinus smiling on him, said, If I be not deceived, young gentleman, you are an Athenian; and I believe you study philosophy, and it is pretty that you say; but you are much abused if you think your virtue can withstand the king's power. Here was the scorn; the wonder followed: which was, that this young scholar or philosopher, after all the captains were murdered in parley by treason, conducted those ten thousand foot through the heart of all the king's high countries from Babylon to Græcia in safety, in despite of all the king's forces, to the astonishment of the world, and the encouragement of the Grecians in time succeeding to make invasion upon the kings of Persia ; as was after purposed by Jason the Thessalian, attempted by Agesilaus the Spartan, and achieved by Alexander the Macedonian; all upon the ground of the act of that young scholar.
To proceed now from imperial and military virtue to moral and private virtue : first, it is an assured truth which is contained in the verses,
Scilicet ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes
Emollit mores, nec sinit esse feros; [a true proficiency in liberal learning softens and humanises the manners]. It taketh away the wildness and barbarism and fierceness of men's minds: but indeed the accent had need be upon fideliter : [it must be a true proficiency :] for a little superficial learning' doth rather work a contrary effect. It taketh away all levity, temerity, and insolency, by copious suggestion of all doubts and difficulties, and acquainting the mind to balance reasons on both sides, and to turn back the first offers and conceits of the mind, and to accept of nothing but examined and tried. It taketh away vain admiration of any thing, which is the root of all weakness. For all things are admired, either because they are new, or because they are great. For novelty, no man that wadeth in learning or contemplation throughly, but will find that printed in his heart Nil novi super terram : [there is nothing new under the sun]. Neither can any man marvel at the play of puppets, that goeth behind the curtain and adviseth well of the motion. And for magnitude, as Alexander the Great after that he was used to great armies and the great conquests of the spacious provinces in Asia, when he received letters out of Greece of some fights and services there, which were commonly for a passage or a fort or some walled town at the most, he said, It seeme: to him that he was advertised of the battles of the frogs and the mice, that the old tales went of: so certainly if a man meditate much upon the universal frame of nature, the earth with men upon it (the divineness of souls except) will not seem much other than an ant-hill, whereas some ants carry corn, and some carry their young, and some go empty, and all to and fro a little heap of dust. It taketh away or mitigateth fear of death or adverse fortune; which is one of
| tumultuaria cognitio.
the greatest impediments of virtue and imperfections of man-
Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
And that insatiate gulph that roars below.] It were too long to go over the particular remedies which learning doth minister to all the diseases of the mind; sometimes purging the ill humours, sometimes opening the obstructions, sometimes helping digestion, sometimes increasing appetite, sometimes healing the wounds and exulcerations thereof, and the like; and therefore I will conclude with that which hath rationem totius; which is, that it disposeth the constitution of the mind not to be fixed or settled in the defects thereof, but still to be capable and susceptible of growth and reformation. For the unlearned man knows not what it is to descend into himself or to call himself to account, nor the pleasure of that suavissima vita, indies sentire se fieri meliorem, (to feel himself each day a better man than he was the day before). The good parts he hath he will learn to shew to the full and use them dexterously, but not much to increase them : the faults he hath he will learn how to hide and colour them, but not much to amend them; like an ill mower, that mows on still and never whets his scythe: whereas with the learned man it fares otherwise, that he doth ever intermix the correction and amendment of his mind with the use and employment thereof. Nay further, in general and in sum, certain it is that veritas and bonitas differ but as the seal and the print; for