Francis Bacon (1561–1626).  Advancement of Learning.  1857.

The Second Book

IT might seem to have more convenience, though it come often otherwise to pass, (excellent King,) that those which are fruitful in their generations, and have in themselves the foresight of immortality in their descendants, should likewise be more careful of the good estate of future times; unto which they know they must transmit and commend over their dearest pledges. Queen Elizabeth was a sojourner in the world in respect of her unmarried life; and was a blessing to her own times; and yet so as the impression of her good government, besides her happy memory, is not without some effect which doth survive her. 1 But to your Majesty, whom God hath already blessed with so much royal issue, worthy to continue and represent you for ever, and whose youthful and fruitful bed doth yet promise many the like renovations, it is proper and agreeable to be conversant not only in the transitory parts of good government, but in those acts also which are in their nature permanent and perpetual. Amongst the which (if affection do not transport me) there is not any more worthy than the further endowment of the world with sound and fruitful knowledge: for why should a few received authors stand up like Hercules’ Columns, beyond which there should be no sailing or discovering, since we have so bright and benign a star as your Majesty to conduct and prosper us? To return therefore where we left, it remaineth to consider of what kind those acts are, which have been undertaken and performed by kings and others for the increase and advancement of learning: wherein I purpose to speak actively without digressing or dilating. 1
Let this ground therefore be laid, that all works are overcomen by amplitude of reward, by soundness of direction, and by the conjunction of labours. The first multiplieth endeavour, the second preventeth error, and the third supplieth the frailty of man. But the principal of these is direction: for claudus in via antevertit cursorem extra viam; [the cripple that keeps the way gets to the end of the journey sooner than the runner who goes aside;] and Salomon excellently setteth it down, If the iron be not sharp, it requireth more strength; but wisdom is that which prevaileth; signifying that the invention or election of the mean is more effectual than any inforcement or accumulation of endeavours. This I am induced to speak, for that (not derogating from the noble intention of any that have been deservers towards the state of learning) I do observe nevertheless that their works and acts are rather matters of magnificence and memory than of progression and proficience, and tend rather to augment the mass of learning in the multitude of learned men than to rectify or raise the sciences themselves. 2
The works or acts of merit towards learning are conversant about three objects; the places of learning, the books of learning, and the persons of the learned. For as water, whether it be the dew of heaven or the springs of the earth, doth scatter and leese itself in the ground, except it be collected into some receptacle, where it may by union comfort and sustain itself; and for that cause the industry of man hath made and framed spring-heads, conduits, cisterns, and pools, which men have accustomed likewise to beautify and adorn with accomplishments of magnificence and state, as well as of use and necessity; so this excellent liquor of knowledge, whether it descend from divine inspiration or spring from human sense, would soon perish and vanish to oblivion, if it were not preserved in books, traditions, conferences, and places appointed, as universities, colleges, and schools, for the receit and comforting of the same. 3
The works which concern the seats and places of learning are four – foundations and buildings, endowments with revenues, endowments with franchises and privileges, institutions and ordinances for government – all tending to quietness and privateness of life, and discharge of cares and troubles; much like the stations which Virgil prescribeth for the hiving of bees:
Principio sedes apibus statioque petenda,
Quo neque sit ventis aditus, &c.
[First for thy bees a quiet station find,
And lodge them under covert of the wind. 2]
Et patrum invalidi referent jejunia nati:
Animi nil magnæ laudis egentes;
Nosque ubi primus equis oriens afflavit anhelis,
Illic sera rubens accendit lumina Vesper:
[And while on us the fresh East breathes from far,
For them the red West lights her evening star:]
Demens qui nimbos et non imitabile fulmen, &c.
Illam Terra parens, irâ irritata deorum,
Extremam, ut perhibent, Cœo Enceladoque sororem
Splendet tremulo sub lumine pontus:
[Beneath the trembling light glitters the sea.]
Omnes cœlicolas, omnes supera alta tenetes:
[All dwellers in the heaven and upper sky:]
Felix terrarum prædo, non utile mundo
Editus exemplum, &c.