The Tempest, (12)
3.5 Dating The True Declaration (TD)
We now compare an extract from the TD with one from Sir Francis Bacon's Advancement of Learning where we find a succession of quoted classical sources, a statement as to what each source observed, concluding with a Latin dictum. First, we examine an extract from the TD:
“The emulation of Caesar and Pompey watered the plains of Pharsaly with blood and distracted the sinews of the Roman monarchy. The dissensions of the three besieged captains betrayed the city of Jerusalem to Vespasian. How much more easily might ambitious discord tear in pieces an infant colony, where no eminent and respected magistrates had authority to punish presumptuous disobedience? Tacitus has observed that when Nero sent his old trained soldiers to Tarantum and Autium, (but without their old captains and centurians) that they rather made a number than a Colony: every soldier secretly glided into some neighbor province and forsook their appointed places, which hatched this consequent mischief. The cities were uninhabited, and the emperor was frustrated. When therefore license, sedition, and fury are the fruits of a heady, daring, and unruly multitude, it is no wonder that so many in our colony perished; it is a wonder that all were not devoured. Omnis inordinatus animus sibi ipsi fit pana; every inordinate soul becomes his own punishment.”
Now compare this with a piece from Bacon's Advancement of Learning:
“So we may see in a letter of Cicero to Atticus, that Augustus Caesar, in his very entrance into affairs, when he was a darling of the senate, yet in his harangues to the people would swear, Ita parentis honores consequi liceat [in the hope of attaining his father's honours] (which was no less than the tyranny), save that, to help it, he would stretch forth his hand towards a statue of Caesar's that was erected in the place: and men laughed and wondered, and said, "Is it possible?" or, "Did you ever hear the like?" and yet thought he meant no hurt; he did it so handsomely and ingenuously. And all these were prosperous: whereas Pompey, who tended to the same ends, but in a more dark and dissembling manner as Tacitus saith of him, Occultior non melior [a more reserved but not a better character] wherein Sallust concurreth, Ore probo, animo inverecundo [of honest tongue and shameless mind] made it his design, by infinite secret engines, to cast the state into an absolute anarchy and confusion, that the state might cast itself into his arms for necessity and protection, and so the sovereign power be put upon him, and he never seen in it: and when he had brought it (as he thought) to that point when he was chosen consul alone, as never any was, yet he could make no great matter of it, because men understood him not; but was fain in the end to go the beaten track of getting arms into his hands, by colour of the doubt of Caesar's designs: so tedious, casual, and unfortunate are these deep dissimulations: whereof it seemeth Tacitus made this judgment, that they were a cunning of an inferior form in regard of true policy; attributing the one to Augustus, the other to Tiberius; where, speaking of Livia, he saith, Et cum artibus mariti simulatione filii bene compostia: [she was a match for the diplomacy of her husband and the dissimulation of her son] for surely the continual habit of dissimulation is but a weak and sluggish cunning, and not greatly politic.”
Aside from a common recourse to Tacitus, one of Bacon's favourite authors, there is the use of unlikely single, double, and triple collocations. We have the unusual “presumptuous disobedience” against “sluggish cunning”; “eminent and respected magistrates” against “dark and dissembling manner”; and “a heady, daring, and unruly multitude” against “so tedious, casual, and unfortunate are these deep dissimulations”.