Sunday, May 1, 2011

More Promus - 1 - Poisonous minerals

Here is another short series of parallel ideas and phrases between Shake-Speare and Bacon. These Bacon writings are from his Promus notebook, the same from which the posts on Romeo and Juliet came from. The distinction that these Bacon entries have is that they all seem to have been devised by himself, rather than jotted down from another source.


1.  from Bacon's Promus (entry 81) (and repeated in entry 1403).

"Mineral wits strong poison if they be not corrected".

Now Shake-Speare:

Othello 2.1.290-2 & 3.3.330-4

Iago:  For that I do suspect the lustful Moor
         Hath leap'd into my seat, the thought whereof
         Doth like a poisonous mineral gnaw my inwards
         The Moor already changes with my poison;
         Dangerous conceits are in their nature poisons
         Which at the first are scarce found to distaste
         But with a little act upon the blood,
         Burn like the mines of sulphur

Comment:  I think Bacon meant the same as Iago; namely, that if you plant a disturbing thought in someone's mind, it will undermine him like a mineral poison. Bacon's "wits" must mean "thoughts".

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