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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/131

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9tts.XLftBB.i4.i903.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


in his 'English Grammar,' and was taken from Sir John Cheek :

" Sedition is an aposteam, which, when it breaketh inwardly, putteth the state in great danger of recovery ; and corrupteth the whole commonwealth with the rotten fury, that it hath putrified with."

And Lyly :

" Well, wel, seeing the wound that bleedeth inwardly is most dangerous, that fyre kept close burneth most furious, that y e Oven dammed up, baketh soonest, that sores having no vent fester secretly, it is hyghe tyme to unfolde my secret love to my secret friend."' Euphues,' Arber, 63.

Ben Jonson can be made to furnish a nearer parallel to the ' Promus ' than any that have been quoted from Shakespeare :

Cynthia. Instead of med'ciues have we maladies ? And such imposthumes as Phantaste is Grow in our palace ? We must lance these sores, Or all will putrify.

' Cynthia's Revels,' Act V. sc. iii.

Dr. Theobald claims that his argument is of a cumulative character, that inaccuracies do not in any way impair its general validity. But he begs the whole question. Nobody until recent years ever disputed Shake- speare's right to be considered the author of the work that goes under his name, and not one of his contemporaries can be tortured into saying that Bacon ever wrote plays, or that he was ever capable of writing decent poetry. He tried his prentice hand on a translation of the Psalms, but it is a miserable performance, and reminds one of the saying of Ben Jonson, that " Virgil's felicity left him in prose, as Tully's forsook him in verse." He is a Virgil in prose, but a Tully in verse. Now, seeing that the claim for Bacon is founded entirely on parallels to be fouad in his writings and those of Shakespeare, it is the business of his followers to prove that their parallels have a distinctive value. Know- ing the precarious position they are in, they usher in the evidence with a great blowing of trumpets ; they say the phrasing in Bacon and the plays is unique, and that others never use the same or similar images and learning in the same way. But, as a matter of fact, these parallels are mostly dreary commonplaces, and the braying of the trum- pets is only the prelude to the fall of the walls of Jericho. If the foundations are not safe, if

The pillars, that bolstered up those terms, rock to and fro at a touch, what becomes of the building the so-called cumulative argu- ment?

Dr. Theobald has discovered two more wonderful phrases that were invented by Bacon. Be careful of the falling bricks and the dust. Let me quote :

" Shakespeare's phrase ' out of joint,' which has passed into current speech, so that its singular and original character is forgotten, is used more than once both in Shakespeare and Bacon."

The variant, " out of frame," is also proved to be singular and original in character by a quotation from 'Hamlet.' Now, although Dr. Theobald was able to quote cases of the former phrase from Bacon, he forgot to adduce cases of the use of "out of frame" from his work. These omissions are very interesting. Elsewhere he gives us a list of words that were coined by Bacon in Shakespeare ; but, again, in most cases he forgets to show us where Bacon uses them in his acknowledged work. Will Dr. Theobald just trouble to get out a list of the hundreds of very rare words that are to be found in the real Bacon, and advise us that the same are not to be found in Shakespeare 1 Omissions tell much ; but commonplaces, such as those of the Baconians, prove nothing, except the presence of a plague of Egyptian darkness.

" Singular and original in character," for- sooth !

To thy correccion/ now haaste and hie, For thou haast been out ofjoynt al to longe. Hoccleve's 'Works,' anno Domini 1415; Dr. Fur- nivall's reprint, p. 14.

The londe he bryngeth out of frame! Agaynst all goddis forbod. ' Rede me and be nott Wrothe/ &c., A.D. 1528.

Another phrase of Bacon's invention is "out of tune," which occurs in 'Hamlet,' III. i. 126 :

Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh.

Dr. Theobald seems to have dropped on this discovery quite accidentally whilst reading the 'Novum Organum.' All great discoveries come by accident, and, when found, people wonder that they remained so long hidden. Nobody ever used such phrases before Bacon invented them, nor did any author ever employ any of the 230 words noted by Dr. Theobald as of Bacon's coinage. There are only about thirty of them to be found in 'Eede me and be nott Wrothe,' which was written some time after the Flood, and the same little book is so much out of joint that it actually has " out of tune " also : Yet are they so farre out of tune.

The " they " in this line seems to bean inter- polation, indicating Bacon's own opinion of the authors of the book.

Under ' Promus ' No. 708 Bacon refers to the saying that men who have great responsi- bilities are like porters who carry a load on each shoulder, and another on the top of their head. The note is alluded to in the