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The Works of Francis Bacon (v. 14)

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Pages: 202

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Francis Bacon

Excerpt from book: PREFACE. The translation of certain Psalms into English verse (the only verses certainly of Bacon's making that have come down to us, and probably with one or two slight exceptions the only verses he ever attempted,) was made, as the collection of Apophthegms also was, during a fit of sickness in 1624. Had it been merely composed, fairly copied, and presented with a grateful and graceful dedication to his friend George Herbert, there would have been nothing in the matter to call for explanation. A full mind, accustomed to work under the excitement of an eager temperament and the consciousness of great purposes unaccomplished and the time fast approaching when no man can work, cannot find rest in inaction: but only in some other mode of activity, which may occupy without exciting or too deeply engaging it. For this purpose no exercises can be better than the turning over and reviewing of the miscellaneous stores of the memory, and the mechanical process of arranging words in metre. But for the unquiet heart and brain A use in measured language lies: The sad mechanic exercise, Like dull narcotics, numbing pain. Bacon however not only composed these two littleworks, but published them :l a fact which, considering how little he had cared to publish during the first sixty years of his life, and how many things of weightier character and more careful workmanship he had then by him in his cabinet, (including the entire contents of the Miscellany works and the Hesuscitatio,) is somewhat remarkable. My own conjecture is, that things of more serious import he did not like to publish in an imperfect shape as long as he could hope to perfect them, but that he owed money to his printer and bookseller, and if such trifles as these would help to pay it, he had no objection to the...  

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