Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Parallel - Seeds and Beginnings

First Shake-Speare:

                      "... a man may prophesy
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
And weak
beginnings lie intreasured".
 Henry IV, 3.1.82-5

Now Bacon: "Nay more, Mr. Speaker, whosoever shall look into the seminary (from seminarium = seed plot] and beginnings of the monarchies of the world, he shall find them founded in poverty".
   Speech on union with Scotland

"Also that it may be a beginning and seed...of a Holy War against the Turk.
   Instruction to Sir John Digby

"None of the great monarchies, which in the memory of times have risen in the habitable world, had so fair seeds and beginnings.
   Dedication to King James of a Essay on the True Greatness of Britain

Comment: The only parallel given by J.M.Robertson in The Baconian Heresy is: "So they have their beginnings of themselves in seed, in flower or in kernel", from an Arthur Golding work. Of course the concept of beginning in seed was a commonplace, but the almost tautologous coupling of "beginning" and "seed" (in one passage "seminary") looks like a Bacon and Shake-Speare mannerism. The sense required Golding to use both "beginnings" and "seed", but Bacon and Shake-Speare could each time have said either "seed" or "beginning".

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