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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/312

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304


NOTES AND QUERIES.


XL APRIL is, 1903.


V. i. 5-13, illustrates Bacon's original notion admirably ; and John Lyly expounds it in orthodox fashion twice in 'Euphues.' Many other writers of the time do likewise ; but if anybody wishes to find other parallels to the passage outside Shakespeare, he will be wise if he avoids Bacon, who has nothing like it in all his work, except such sayings as that which we find in ' Henry VII.,' where he writes that the citizens, finding the gates to beset on fire by the enemy, " repulsed fire with fire."

Dr. Theobald records many instances of parallel phrases in Bacon and Shakespeare, and in one or two cases he qualifies them with remarks to the effect that such phrases are sometimes to be met with in other writers of the time. Consequently, we may assume that the absence of qualifying remarks is an indication that the phrases are new and of Bacon's coinage.

Starting holes. This phrase is said to be a curious one, and a passage in '1 Henry IV.' which contains it is quoted. Of course, .Bacon uses it.

Two instances at least occur in Jonson : one in * The Case is Altered,' and the other in the 'Discoveries,' 4 De Bonis et Malis.' It is a very common expression, and Peele used it in the earliest known draft of his 'Edward I.,' but struck it out when revising his play, perhaps because it had been battered about so much by others. See Dyce's 'Peele,' p. 415, col. 1. Greene often uses it, and it occurs in Gascoigne's ' Voyage into Holland,' 1572. But we need not be surprised that such parallels are adduced, for the same writer gravely informs us that " play prizes " is another " curious expression," and that Bacon coined the phrase " gross and palpable " !

To put tricks upon. Another choice phrase from the Bacon mint. And yet Dr. Theobald does not see that his claim for Bacon is refuted by Bacon in the very passage that he quotes :

"Some build rather upon the abusing of others, and (as we now say) putting tricks upon them," &c. Essay of ' Cunning.'

Dr. Theobald might have added that this phrase is met with again in the 'Spurious Apophthegms,' No. 16 :

" Two scholars and a countryman, travelling upon the road, one night lodged all in one inn and supped together, where the scholars thought to have put a trick upon the countryman," <fec.

However, the phrase is to be found in Ben Jonson several times. It occurs in ' Every Man in his Humour'; twice in 'Catiline'; in ' The New Inn '; and again in 'Bartholomew Fair.' Yet Dr. Theobald is so confident of i


the Baconian origin of the phrase, and of the time at which it was minted, that he adduces it as a piece of evidence in regard to the dates of two of Shakespeare's plays which use it :

" As neither of these plays ['The Tempest' and 'All's Well'] were [sic] known till 1623, there is no reason for giving the phrase an earlier date than the Essay [1612]."

Now Jonson uses the expression in both versions of his 'Every Man in his Humour,' and therefore it was current as early as 1596.

Discourse of reason. When this phrase is mentioned to a Baconian, he removes his hat and bows his body. It is such a "profound philosophical expression "; and has not Theo- bald the great Theobald traced it to Homer? Of course, it originated with Bacon. Nevertheless, Prof. Dowden in his paper ' Shakespeare as a Man of Science,' printed in the National Review last July, has shown that the phrase occurs in Caxton, in Sir Thomas More, in Eden, in Holland's transla- tion of Plutarch's ' Morals,' and at least four times in Florio's translation of Montaigne. Here is another case :

"How they [the Romans] could have sped well in undertaking such a match : it is uneasy to find in discourse of human reason." Sir Walter Raleigh's ' History of the World '; Arber, ' English Garner,' vol. i. p. 67.

Dr. Theobald remarks that

"one rather frequent mode of expression with Bacon is to say of some attribute or quality that it lies in the object to which it addresses itself, and does not exist for its own sake."

And he cites the following as an example :

"So that it is said of untrue valours that some men's valours are in the eyes of them that look on, so such men's industries [i.e., other than learning] are in the eyes of others, or at least in regard of their own designments." ' Advancement of Learn- ing,' book i.

Bacon's expression " it is said " shows con- clusively that he was using a common form of speech ; and, as a matter of fact, he could not help employing it in the connexion he does. The saying re valour and lookers- on was proverbial, and Bacon tells us so in a passage the whole of which Dr. Theobald has forgotten to quote :

"Of valour I speak not; take it from the wit- nesses that have been produced before : yet, the old observation is not untrue, that the Spaniard's valour lieth in the eye of the looker-on ; but the English valour lieth about the soldier's heart."' Of a War with Spain.'

Four passages are quoted from Shakespeare to show that he uses the form "lies in," but the only one that is worth noticing is the following :