Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Shakespeare and Bacon - Attitude toward Moderation

Opinions, attitudes and interests of Shake-Speare and Bacon


Few would dispute that the Shake-Speare works are pervaded by a spirit of moderation and good sense. Indeed their insistent sanity of outlook is one of their most inspiring features. It is almost epitomized in Nerissa's comment in The Merchant of Venice 1.2.6-8: "It is no mean happiness to be seated in the mean".

That is where Bacon sat himself, in religion, politics, the regimen of health, everything; ever faithful to his family motto: In medio spatio mediocria firma locantur - the firm ground is in the middle. Canon Rawley in his Resuscitatio recorded that the King said of Bacon "That he ever dealt in business suavibus modis (agreeably moderate), which was the way that was most according to his heart". Or as David Lloyd put it in his The Statesmen and Favourites of England (1665), p. 600: "King James said that he [Bacon] knew the way of handling things after a mild and gentle manner". Bacon wrote to the King: "In general...you jump with me in keeping the mid way between the two extremes". In a speech in Parliament he said: "Fair and moderate courses are ever best in causes of estate [state]". Elsewhere he praised the "golden mediocrity".

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