Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

PHÆNOMENA UNIVERSI.

PREFACE

TO THE

PIIÆNOMENA UNIVERSI.

The fragment which follows was first published by Gruter in 1653, who places it among the Impetus Philosophici. It appears to have been meant originally for the commencement of the third part of the Instauratio, with the design of which, as described in the Distributio Operis and the Parasceve, it agrees very well as far as it goes. .

“ Tertia pars operis” (says Bacon in the Distributio) “ complectitur Phænomena Universi ; hoc est omnigenam experientiam, atque historiam naturalem ejus generis que possit esse in ordine ad condendam philosophiam

. . Neque corporum tantum historiam exhibemus, sed diligentiæ insuper nostræ esse putavimus etiam virtutum ipsarum (illarum dicimus quæ tanquam cardinales in naturâ censeri possint, et in quibus naturæ primordia plane constituuntur, utpote naturæ primis passionibus ac desideriis; viz. denso, raro; calido, frigido; consistente, fluido; gravi, levi; aliisque haud paucis) historiam seorsim comparare." “ Quod vero" (he adds in the the Parasceve,)“ in distributione operis nostri mentionem fecimus cardinalium virtutum in naturâ; et quod etiam harum historia, antequam ad opus interpretationis ventum fuerit, perscribenda esset; hujus rei minime obliti sumus; sed eam nobis ipsis reservavimus; cum de aliorum industriâ in hâc re, priusquam homines cum naturâ paulo arctius consuescere inceperint, prolixe spondere non audeamus.”

Compare these announcements with the following passage in the preface to the fragment before us. “ Atque a phænomenis actheris ordiri solennius foret. Nos autem, nil de severitate instituti nostri remittentes, ea anteferemus quæ naturam con

stituant et referant magis communem, cujus uterque globus est particeps. Ordiemur vero ab historiâ corporum secundum eam differentiam quæ videtur simplicissima; ea est copia aut paucitas materiæ intra idem spatium sive eandem circumscriptionem contentæ et exporrectæ." I The subject therefore which stands first in the list of these cardinal virtues in nature which, when he published the Novum Organum, he meant to reserve for his own pen and handle separately, — namely, the Historia Densi et Rari -— is the very subject with which this fragment commences; and there need be no doubt that both the title and the præfatio properly belong to it.

There is nothing that I know of to determine the date at which it was written. . But there being no allusion to it in the Commentarius Solutus, I suppose it was not begun in 1608. And it must certainly have been written before 1622, when the Historia Ventorum was published; for then the Historia Densi et Rari was designed for the second place in the series, not (as here) for the first. The allusion in the last paragraph but one to an instrument recently exhibited in England by certain Batavians, which uttered a musical sound when exposed to the sun, may possibly bring the uncertainty within narrower limits; if the date of that exhibition can be ascertained. But in the meantime we cannot be far wrong in placing the fragment here.

Another copy of it, much enlarged and improved in the latter part, though very imperfect and apparently of earlier date in the beginning, was published by Dr. Rawley in 1658. This has already been printed in its place, with Mr. Ellis's preface and notes, to which the reader is referred.

J. S.

See p. 688. at the bottom.

PHÆNOMENA UNIVERSI;

SIVE

HISTORIA NATURALIS AD CONDENDAN PHILOSOPHIAM.

PRÆFATIO.

Cum nobis homines nec opinandi nec experiendi vias tenere prorsus videantur, omni ope huic infortunio subveniendum putavimus. Neque enim major aliunde se ostendit bene merendi ratio, quam si id agatur, ut homines, et placitorum larvis et experimentorum stuporibus liberati, ipsi cum rebus magis fida et magis arcta inita societate contrahant, quasi per experientiam quandam literatam. lloc enim modo intellectus et in tuto et in summo collocatur, atque præsto insuper erit atque ingruet rerum utilium proventus. Atque hujus rei exordia omnino a Naturali Historia ducenda sunt; nam universa philosophia Græcorum, cum sectis suis omnigenis, atque si qua alia philosophia in manibus est, nobis videtur super nimis angustam basin naturalis historiæ fundata esse, atque ex paucioribus quam par erat pronuntiasse. Arreptis enim quibusdam ab experientia et traditionibus, neque iis interdum aut diligenter examinatis', reliqua in meditatione et ingenii agitatione posuere, assumpta in majorem rei fiduciam Dialectica. Chymistæ autem et universum mechanicorum et empiricorum genus, si et illis contemplationes et philosophiam tentare audacia creverit, paucarum rerum accuratæ subtilitati assueti, miris modis reliquas ad eas contorquent; et placita magis deformia et monstrosa, quam rationales illi producunt. Illi enim parum ex multis, hi rursus multumi ex paucis, in philosophiæ materiam sumunt; utriusque autem ratio, si verum dicendum sit, infirma est et perdita. Sed naturalis historia quæ hactenus congesta est primo intuitu copiosa videri possit, cum re vera sit egena et inutilis, neque adeo ejus generis quod quærimus. Neque enim a fabulis et deliriis

So in the original; a clause having apparently dropped out : such as, aut certo compertis notionibus, or words to that effect. Compare Nov. Org. i. 62.

« НазадПродовжити »