From the INTRODUCTION
IN a literary sense, whoever follows Francis Bacon feeds at the highest line of the world's literature. This is as true to-day, as it was two centuries ago. His matchless ideation and cogency of reason, were never equaled. These proclaim him the world's literary master, and in a sense not yet made manifest, as we shall see. We agree with Macaulay that the amplitude of his comprehension was never yet vouchsafed to any other human being. This it was that gave character to his vast reform, its subtlety of execution, and its never before attempted method of introduction. Its key-note, using his own words, was: "Without the help of the knowledge of evil, virtue remains open and unfenced."
With his views the deeps of Satan should be all known to him who would be the true instructor, as we shall see later from his own words. We shall also see, that he undertook to exercise a providence over all human learning, and in this, among other things, reports a history of literature wanting.
We here set you up a point, Reader. Let it be retained, please, throughout the reading of this work, to wit, "a history of literature is wanting." To supply this was but part of his great Posthumous Pocket labors.
While throughout, as in his Plays, entertainment of the mind was to be the lever, the help of the knowledge of evil was to be the fulcrum, to lift the age to a higher level.
We shall here invite the attention of the student of English literature to something new; and which will render it more easy, both of apprehension and retention. But whatever we may do in this work, we desire above all else to make it clear, that Francis Bacon's key, his "Formula of Interpretation," this new light, was never revealed by him while living, but was reserved to a private succession, as we shall see.
Following his fall, he says: "I shall devote myself to letters, instruct the actors and serve posterity. In such a course, I shall perhaps find honor and I shall pass my life as within the verge of a better." These actors were factors of his pen. They were his facets of light. They were his "hands of my hands." Their doings, Reader, were to come out from the "cabinets, boxes and presses" named in his last will.
When his story, the covert story of Elizabeth's successor has been rightly told; it will not appear as strangely as now, that he ended not his earthly career by death at the Earl of Arundel's house, as now generally supposed; but was covertly behind that great struggle which put Charles 1st from the English throne. We come to you in this work, Reader, with a new message. We shall endeavor, in the main, to give Bacon's words throughout leaving the reader to his own conclusions. Upon the thread of his life we shall find, among others, his Shakespeare Sonnets, his Plays, his dream drama, -"The Pilgrim's Progress,"-his "Holy War," his "History of the Devil," his "Milton," his "Tale of a Tub," addressed to posterity, and that work of durance his "Sartor Resartus." And "the river of his history" will long bear them up....show more