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squared, nor timber'd for it. There are not only particular men, but whole nations indisposed for learning; whereunto is required, not only education, but a pregnant Minerva, and teeming constitution. For the wisdom of God hath divided the genius of men according to the different affairs of the world, and varied their inclinations according to the variety of actions to be performed therein. Which they who consider not, rudely rushing upon professions and ways of life unequal to their natures, dishonour not only themselves and their functions, but pervert the harmony of the whole world. For, if the world went on as God hath ordained it, and were every one employed in points concordant to their natures, professions, arts, and commonwealths, would rise up of themselves, nor needed we a lanthorn to find a man in Athens.
Of another more immediate Cause of Error ;--viz, obstinate
Adherence unto Antiquity.
But the mortallest enemy unto knowledge, and that which hath done the greatest execution upon truth, hath been a peremptory adhesion unto authority; and more especially, the establishing of our belief upon the dictates of antiquity. For (as every capacity may observe) most men, of ages present, so superstitiously do look upon ages past, that the authorities of the one exceed the reasons of the other. Whose persons indeed being far removed from our times, their works, which seldom with us pass uncontrolled, either by contemporaries, or immediate successors, are now become out of the distance of envies; and, the farther removed from present times, are conceived to approach the nearer unto truth itself. Now hereby methinks we manifestly delude ourselves, and widely walk out of the track of truth.
5 whole nations, fc.] Surely so sweep- the author's own censure, in Religio Meing an assertion as this would fall under dici, p. 93.
For, first, men hereby impose a thraldom on their times, which the ingenuity of no age should endure, or indeed the presumption of any did ever yet enjoin. Thus Hippocrates about two thousand years ago, conceived it no injustice, either to examine or refute the doctrines of his predecessors; Galen the like, and Aristotle the most of any. Yet did not any of these conceive themselves infallible, or set down their dictates as verities irrefragable: but when they either deliver their own inventions, or reject other men's opinions, they proceed with judgment and ingenuity; establishing their assertions, not only with great solidity, but submitting them also unto the correction of future discovery.
Secondly, Men that adore times past consider not that those times were once present, that is, as our own are at this instant; and we ourselves unto those to come, as they unto us at present: as we rely on them, even so will those on us, and magnify us hereafter, who at present condemn ourselves. Which very absurdity is daily committed amongst us, even in the esteem and censure of our own times. And, to speak impartially, old men, from whom we should expect the greatest example of wisdom, do most exceed in this point of folly; commending the days of their youth, which they scarce remember, at least well understood not, extolling those times their younger years have heard their fathers condemn, and condemning those times the gray heads of their posterity shall commend. And thus is it the humour of many heads, to extol the days of their forefathers, and declaim against the wickedness of times present. Which notwithstanding they cannot handsomely do, without the borrowed help and satires of times past; condemning the vices of their own times, by the expressions of vices in times which they commend, which cannot but argue the community of vice in both. Horace, therefore, Juvenal, and Persius, were no prophets, although their lines did seem to indigitate and point at our times. There is a certain list of vices6 committed in all ages, and declaimed against by all authors, which will last as long as human nature; which digested into common places, may serve for any theme, and never be out of date until doomsday.
6 There is a certain list of vices.] semper retinentur," saith old Livius. “Qualia sunt quæ semper velantur sed -Wr.
Thirdly, The testimonies of antiquity, and such as pass oraculously amongst us, were not, if we consider them, always so exact as to examine the doctrine they delivered. For some, and those the acutest of them, have left unto us many things of falsity; controllable, not only by critical and collective reason, but common and country observation.
Hereof there want not many examples in Aristotle, through all his book of animals; we shall instance only in three of his problems, and all contained under one section. The first enquireth, why a man doth cough, but not an ox or cow; whereas notwithstanding the contrary is often observed by husbandmen, and stands confirmed by those who have expressly treated De re rustica, and have also delivered divers remedies for it. Why juments, as horses, oxen, and asses, have no eructation or belching; whereas indeed the contrary is often observed, and also delivered by Columella. And thirdly, why man alone hath grey hairs; whereas it cannot escape the eyes, and ordinary observation of all men, that horses, dogs, and foxes, wax gray with age in our countrys ;? and in the colder regions, many other animals without it. And though favourable constructions may somewhat extenuate the rigour of these concessions 8 yet will scarce any palliate that in the fourth of his meteors, that salt is easiest dissolvable in cold water;' nor that of Dioscorides, that quicksilver is best preserved in vessels of tin and lead.
Why man alone hath grey hairs, fc.] general, he observes that “the colour of The author's previous reference to the the hair changes in old age, in men beproblems of Aristotle, of which this is coming white, undergoing the same one, is so ambiguous, that it might induce change in other animals, but not very a reader, unacquainted with the works of manifestly, except in the horse,” which the Stagirite, to suppose that the prob- latter is one of the instances cited in the lems formed part of the “ Book of Ani- paragraph before us, in contradiction of mals," which is not the case. From a
Aristotle. The other subjects, coughing passage in the latter work, however, ap- and eructation, are not noticed in the parently unknown to our author, it is to History of Animals.—Br. be inferred that Aristotle was aware of 8 And though favourable constructions, the fact, that other animals become grey fc.] Added in second edition. by age, and that he is speaking not in an 9 That salt is easiest dissolvable in cold absolute but in a comparative sense, when water. ] Upon examining the entire he asks the above question in the prob- chapter (vi) of the Meteors here cited, I lems. For in the History of Animals, found that our author bad altogether ib. iii, cap. xi., speaking of animals in mistaken the meaning of the passage re
Other authors write often dubiously, even in matters wherein is expected a strict and definitive truth, extenuating their affirmations with aiunt, ferunt, fortasse ;5 as Dioscorides, Galen, Aristotle, and many more. Others by hearsay, taking upon trust most they have delivered; whose volumes are mere collections, drawn from the mouths or leaves of other authors, as may be observed in Pliny, Ælian, Athenæus, and many more. Not a few transcriptively, subscribing their names unto other mens endeavours, and merely transcribing almost all they have written. The Arabs transcribing the Greeks, the Greeks and Latins each other.
Thus hath Justine borrowed all from Trogus Pompeius, and Julius Solinus in a manner transcribed Pliny. Thus have Lucian and Apuleius served Lucius Pratensis; men both living in the same time, and both transcribing the same author, in those famous books, entituled Lucius by the one, and Aureus Asinus by the other. In the same measure hath Simocrates, in his tract De Nilo, dealt with Diodorus Siculus, as may be observed in that work annexed unto Herodotus, and translated by Jungermannus. Thus Eratosthenes wholly translated Timotheus de Insulis, not reserving the very preface. The same doth Strabo report of Eudorus, and Arstion, in a treatise entituled De Milo. Clemens Alexandrinus hath
lating to the solubility of salts. Aristotle are liquefied by water, and by aqueous does not use the term “cold moisture" fluids in general ; ( ύδατος είδη:) but (for this is the sense of the original, not they are not liquefied by oil;" evidently cold water, as Browne has rendered it) in regarding the latter fluid as not being “a contradiction to hot moisture, he does not cold moisture.” It may be remarked intend to say, as our author infers, that also, as an indication of the degree of acnitre and salts are more readily soluble quaintance with such subjects possessed in cold water than in hot; but he uses by our author, and by the generality of the phrase "cold moisture” as the op- physical inquirers in his time, that he posite to “dry heat." Not far from the
would, to a considerable extent, be himbeginning of the chapter, he had previ- self in error, even had the assertion of ously defined water to be " a cold moist- Aristotle really been as he represents ure;” and in the passage in question he it; for common salt and several others says that salts and nitre (the virgov of the are actually "easiest dissolvable in cold Greeks, which was not our nitre, or salt- water."-Br. petre, but the natron of North Africa, 5 aiunt, ferunt, fortasse.] These one of the carbonates of soda of modern three terms, and such like, argue so chemistry) are soluble in moisture, using much modesty in those magazines of all that term to denote humid substances human (learning ?] as might well free in general, yet not in all moisture, but them from a censure.-Wr. in that which is cold.” He adds, imme- 6 Justine.] He cannot be properly said diately, which proves this view of the to borrow who professes only an epitome. subject to be the true one, “ hence they -Wr.
observed many examples hereof among the Greeks; and Pliny speaketh very plainly in his preface, that conferring his authors, and comparing their works together, he generally found those that went before verbatim transcribed by those that followed after, and their originals never so much as mentioned. To omit how much the wittiest* piece of Ovid is beholden unto Parthenius Chius; even the magnified Virgil hath borrowed almost all his works; his Eclogues from Theocritus, his Georgicks from Hesiod and Aratus, his Æneids from Homer, the second book whereof containing the exploit of Sinon and the Trojan Horse (as Macrobius observeth) he hath verbatim derived from Pisander. Our own profession is not excusable herein. Thus Oribasius, Ætiuus, and Ægineta, have in a manner transcribed Galen. But Marcellus Empericus, who hath left a famous work De Medicamentis, hath word for word transcribed all Scribonius Largus, De Compositione Medicamentorum, and not left out his very peroration. Thus may we perceive the ancients were but men, even like ourselves. The practice of transcription in our days was no monster in theirs. Plagiary had not its nativity with printing, but began in times when thefts were difficult, and the paucity of books scarce wanted that invention.
Nor did they only make large use of other authors, but often without mention of their names. Aristotle, who seems to have borrowed many things from Hippocrates, in the most favourable construction, makes mention but once of him, and that by the bye, and without reference unto his present doctrine. Virgil, so much beholding unto Homer, hath not his name in all his works; and Pliny, who seems to borrow many authors out of Dioscorides, hath taken no notice of him. I wish men were not still content to plume themselves with others feathers. Fear of discovery, not single ingenuity, affords quotations rather than transcriptions; wherein, notwithstanding, the plagiarism of many makes little considera
* His Metamorphoses.
+ In his Politicks.
3 beholding unto Homer.] “Very“ looking unto Homer," as to an authorcorrupıly en,” says Johnson, “ for ity source of information. beholden, held in obligation, from the single ingenuity.] “Simple ingenDutch gehouden.” But Sir Thomas pro- uousness.' bably uses the word in the sense of