It would have surprised Bacon to have been told that the most learned men in Europe have studied English authors to learn to think and to write. Our philosopher was surely somewhat mortified, when, in his dedication of the Essays, he observed, that, “Of all my other works, my Essays have been most current; for that, as it seems, they come home to men’s business and bosoms.” It is too much to hope to find in a vast and profound inventor, a writer also who bestows immortality on his language. The English language is the only object, in his great survey of art and of nature, which owes nothing of its excellence to the genius of Bacon.
He had reason, indeed, to be mortified at the reception of his philosophical works; and Dr. Rowley, even, some years after the death of his illustrious master, had occasion to observe, “His fame is greater, and sounds louder in foreign parts abroad than at home in his own nation; thereby verifying that Divine sentence, ’A Prophet is not without honour, save in his own country and in his own house,’” Even the men of genius, who ought to have comprehended this new source of knowledge thus opened to them, reluctantly entered into it: so repugnant are we to give up ancient errors, which time and habit have made a part of ourselves.
[Illustration: STATUE OF LORD BACON.]
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[Illustration: SYRIAN LILY.]
Flowers! when the Saviour’s
calm, benignant eye
Fell on your gentle beauty; when from you
That heavenly lesson for all hearts he drew.
Eternal, universal as the sky;
Then in the bosom of your purity
A voice He set, as in a temple shrine,
That Life’s quick travellers ne’er might pass you by
Unwarn’d of that sweet oracle divine.
And though too oft its low, celestial sound
By the harsh notes of work-day care is drown’d,
And the loud steps of vain, unlist’ning haste,
Yet the great lesson hath no tone of power,
Mightier to reach the soul in thought’s hush’d hour,
Than yours, meek lilies, chosen thus, and graced.
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[Illustration: Letter T.]
The earliest and one of the most fatal eruptions of Mount Vesuvius that is mentioned in history took place in the year 79, during the reign of the Emperor Titus. All Campagna was filled with consternation, and the country was overwhelmed with devastation in every direction; towns, villages, palaces, and their inhabitants were consumed by molten lava, and hidden from the sight by showers of volcanic stones, cinders, and ashes.