Puslapio vaizdai
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stage of his career, the arrival and despatch of couriers enter into the picture which he draws. And in like manner it may be believed that the impression which most statesmen receive of their own greatness is much enhanced, unconsciously perhaps to themselves, by the granting of audiences, the receiving of deputations, the summonses to levees and councils, and divers other incidents which colour their importance to the eyes of their fancy, making a pictorial presentment of it, as it were; whereas, without those incidents, their power stands before them rather in a naked and statuesque ideal, by which an ordinary imagination is not so easily filled. The appreciation of greatness which is in no way made palpable to the mind through the senses is analogous to the love of posthumous greatness; which, when it is loved for its own sake purely, and not partly for the sake of the present reputation of posthumous greatness to come, is the highest abstraction of ambition.

The most memorable example which our history presents, of a struggle between the love of the shows of greatness and the love of its realities, is that of Lord Bacon, the most memorable of men. "Multùm incola est anima mea," had been his account of himself at an early period of his career; but in a soft and comprehensive nature worldly susceptibilities were necessarily to have a share, and the circumstances of the time were calculated to give them a predominance. There never was a court in which a philosopher might so pardonably desire to set his foot, as that which existed when Bacon chose his path in life. The sovereign was such as he might honourably serve, the statesmen such as he might worthily compete with. Incessant and unavailing endeavours to rise during that reign exercised his heart in ambition, and gave the greater value to his subsequent success; and thus the indwelling spirit which nature had given him was

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sacrificed to an external life. But when this life in its turn fell a sacrifice to circumstances, then, though there was disgrace and a tainted character to be contended with, his substantial greatness rose nevertheless like a monument over the shell that had been buried: and wide as may be the difference as to natural endowments between this man and others, yet statesmen who have any of the resources of a contemplative mind may, in their degree and according to their means, profit by a consideration of the manner in which Lord Bacon dignified his retirement from public life. It is beautifully said in he close of a panegyric upon him by one of his most eminent contemporaries**, "In his adversity I ever prayed "that God would give him strength; for great66 ness he could not want."

* Jonson.

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CHAPTER XXXIV.

CONCLUSION.

I CLOSE these dissertations with a full sense of the incoherent manner in which they have been brought together, shaping themselves into no system, falling into no methodised sequence, and holding to each other by hardly any thing beyond their relevancy to one subject. My apology for so offering them is, that if I had applied myself to devise a system, or even a connected succession, I must necessarily have written more from speculative meditation, less from knowledge. What I knew practically, or by reflection flowing from circumstance, must have s 3

been connected by what I might persuade myself that I knew inventively, or by reflection flowing from reflection. I am well aware of the weight and value which is given to a work by a just and harmonious incorporation of its parts. But I may be permitted to say, that there is also a value currently and not unduly attached to what men are prompted to think concerning matters within their knowledge. Perceiving that I was not in a condition to undertake such a work as might combine both values, the alternative which I have chosen is that of treating the topics severally, as they were thrown up by the sundry suggestion of experience.

It is possible, indeed, that by postponing my work to a future period, a further accumulation of experience might have enabled me to improve it in the matter of connection and completeness, without derogating from the other claim. But it has appeared to me that there are considerations which render the present time seasonable

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