Saturday, September 25, 2010

More quotes

  • The poetical faculty was powerful in Bacon's mind but not, like his wit, so powerful as occasionally to usurp the place of reason, and to tyrannise over the whole man. No imagination was ever at once so strong and to thoroughly subjugated. It never stirred but at a signal from good sense...In truth, much of Bacon's life was passed in a visionary world, amidst things as strange as any that are described in the Arabian tales. Lord Macauley
  • A kind of melody of speech belongs to Bacon;  [his ear is exact] and counts its seconds like the pendulum of a clock. J.W.Taverner
  • In Bacon's mode of writing there is that remarkable quality which gives the style of Shakespeare such a strongly marked individuality; that is, a combination of the intellectual and imaginative, the closest reasoning, the boldest metaphor. T.B.Shaw in Outlines of English Literature (1849)
  • His style is also the reflection of a poetical mind which adorns its logic with an imagery, picturesque, piquant, and full of metaphors, similes and analogies, sometimes strained, always suggestive. Thomas Case in the World Classic edition of Bacon's Advancement of Learning.
  • H.A. Taine in his History of English Literature (1871) wrote:  In this band of scholars, dreamers and inquirers appears the most comprehensive, sensible, originative of the minds of the age, Francis Bacon, a great luminous intellect, one of the finest of this poetic progeny who, like his predecessors, was naturally disposed to clothe his ideas in the most splendid dress...He has thought in the manner of artists and poets, and he speaks after the manner of prophets and seers.
  • Shakespeare is as astonishing for the exuberance of his genius in abstract notions, and for the depth of his analytical and philosophic insight, as for the scope and minuteness of his poetic imagination. It is as if into a mind poetical in form there had been poured all the matter that existed in the mind of his contemporary Bacon. In Shakespeare's plays we have thought, history, exposition, philosophy, all within the round of the poets. The only difference between him and Bacon sometimes is that Bacon writes an essay and calls it his own, while Shakespeare writes a similar essay and puts in into the mouth of a Ulysses or a Polonius.  David Masson in Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats and other Essays (1874)
  • He was also a philosopher. In the construction of Shakespeare's dramas is an understanding manifested equal to that in Bacon's Novum Organum. Thomas Carlyle
  • Bacon's similes, for their aptness and their vividness, are of a kind of which Shakespeare or Goethe or Richter might have been proud. Prof. J.S. Blackie (1886)
  • Example of Bacon: "Is not the opinion of Aristotle worthy to be regarded wherein he saith that young men are no fit auditors of moral philosophy, because they are not settled from the boiling heart of their affections [passions], nor tempered with time and experience." 
  • Is that so different from this in Troilus And Cressida 2.2.166-172 "Not much unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought unfit to hear moral philosophy. The reasons you allege do more conduce to the hot passions of distempered blood than to make up a free determination twixt right and wrong." This parallel is discussed in more detail elsewhere on this site.
  • His style varied almost as much as his handwriting but was influenced more by the subject matter than by youth or old age. Few men have shown equal versatility in adapting their language to the slightest change of circumstance and purpose. his style depended on whether he was composing a State paper, pleading in a State trial, magnifying the prerogative, extolling truth, discussing studies, exhorting a judge, sending a New Year present, or sounding a trumpet to prepare the way for the Kingdom of Man over nature. E.A. Abbott
  • His constant practice in every kind of literary composition and in the meditation which constant literary composition sometimes tempts its practitioners to dispense with, enabled him to write on a vast variety of subjects and in many different styles. Prof. George E.B. Saintsbury in his Short history of English Literature (1898) 
  • It has always struck me as extraordinary, and almost as a problem to be explained, how the two greatest Englishmen belonged to one era, nearly the same interval of years, how they lived, as it were, side by side, face to face, yet, so far as we could learn, were strangers to each other, the one a poetical philosopher, the other a philosophical poet. W. Carew Hazlitt, a Stratfordian

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