Sunday, May 1, 2011

More Promus - 5-6 - Ice boys; Ignorance

5. Bacon's Promus entry 828

"Puer glaciem"   "A boy [playing with] ice"; [from Adagia]

All's Well That Ends Well  2.3.93

"These boys are boys of ice; they'll none have her".

Comment:  According to Mrs. Pott, puer glaciem was "said of those who, though they cannot keep a certain thing, are unwilling to part with it";  e.g. boys who are reluctant to come in from the ice.  It looks as though Shake-Speare had the Latin tag in mind, but here makes it mean that they are frigid boys with no interest in Helena.  Thus he ironically inverts the usual meaning - instead of the boys wanting something, they do not want it.  Editors seem to have missed this Adagia echo.


6.  Bacon's Promus entry 948    [I think these had been posted earlier but they're a good reread]

"Better unborn than untaught"  [from Heywood's Proverbs L.603]

2 Henry VI, 4.2.161
          "O gross and miserable ignorance!"

and 4.7.70-1
          "ignorance is the curse of God;
Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven,"

Love's Labour's Lost  4.2.23
         "O! thou monster Ignorance"

King John 4.2.59
          "Barbarous ignorance"

Twelfth Night  4.2.43-4
          "There is no darkness but ignorance"

Troilus And Cressida  2.3.28-9
          "The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance"

Othello  3.3.410-11
           "....and fools as gross
As ignorance made drunk"

Comment: There are many other statements in Bacon's works on the supreme importance of knowledge. It was his passionate and life-long creed. And Shake-Speare seems to have shared it, probably more than other Elizabethan playwrights.

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