To preserve Nature’s chiefest boon, that is freedom, I can find means of offence and defence, when it is assailed by ambitious tyrants, and first I will speak of the situation of the walls, and also I shall show how communities can maintain their good and just Lords.
[Footnote: Compare No. 1266.]
Against Speculators (1205. 1206).
Oh! speculators on things, boast not of knowing the things that nature ordinarily brings about; but rejoice if you know the end of those things which you yourself devise.
Oh! speculators on perpetual motion how many vain projects of the like character you have created! Go and be the companions of the searchers for gold. [Footnote: Another short passage in MS. I, referring also to speculators, is given by LIBRI (Hist, des Sciences math. III, 228): Sicche voi speculatori non vi fidate delli autori che anno sol col immaginatione voluto farsi interpreti tra la natura e l’omo, ma sol di quelli che non coi cienni della natura, ma cogli effetti delle sue esperienze anno esercitati i loro ingegni.]
Against alchemists (1207. 1208).
The false interpreters of nature declare that quicksilver is the common seed of every metal, not remembering that nature varies the seed according to the variety of the things she desires to produce in the world.
And many have made a trade of delusions and false miracles, deceiving the stupid multitude.
Pharisees—that is to say, friars.
[Footnote: Compare No. 837, 11. 54-57, No. 1296 (p. 363 and 364), and No. 1305 (p. 370).]
Against writers of epitomes.
Abbreviators do harm to knowledge and to love, seeing that the love of any thing is the offspring of this knowledge, the love being the more fervent in proportion as the knowledge is more certain. And this certainty is born of a complete knowledge of all the parts, which, when combined, compose the totality of the thing which ought to be loved. Of what use then is he who abridges the details of those matters of which he professes to give thorough information, while he leaves behind the chief part of the things of which the whole is composed? It is true that impatience, the mother of stupidity, praises brevity, as if such persons had not life long enough to serve them to acquire a complete knowledge of one single subject, such as the human body; and then they want to comprehend the mind of God in which the universe is included, weighing it minutely and mincing it into infinite parts, as if they had to dissect it!