Michael Kiernan (ed.), The Oxford Francis Bacon, Vol. 15: The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall

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pg 132 [2K2] Critical ApparatusOf Beauty.Critical ApparatusXLIII.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus3Vertue is like a Rich Stone, best plaine set: And surely, Vertue Critical Apparatus4is best in a Body, that is comely, though not of Delicate Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus5Features: And that hath rather Dignity of Presence, then Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus6Beauty of Aspect. Neither is it almost seene, that very 7Beautifull Persons, are otherwise of great Vertue; As if 8Nature, were rather Busie not to erre, then in labour, to Editor’s Note9produce Excellency. And therefore, they prove Accomplished, 10but not of great Spirit; And Study rather Behaviour, then Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus11Vertue. But this holds not alwaies; For Augustus Cæsar, Titus Editor’s Note12Vespasianus, Philip le Belle of France, Edward the Fourth of Editor’s Note13England, Alcibiades of Athens, Ismael the Sophy of Persia, 14were all High and Great Spirits; And yet the most Beautifull [2K2V] 15Men of their | Times. In Beauty, that of Favour, is more then 16that of Colour, And that of Decent and Gracious Motion, 17more then that of Favour. That is the best Part of Beauty, Critical Apparatus18which a Picture cannot expresse; No, nor the first Sight of Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus19the Life. There is no Excellent Beauty, that hath not some Critical Apparatus20Strangenesse in the Proportion. A Man cannot tell, whether Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus21Apelles, or Albert Durer, were the more Trifler: Whereof the 22one would make a Personage by Geometricall Proportions: 23The other, by taking the best Parts out of divers Faces, to 24make one Excellent. Such Personages, I thinke, would please 25no Body, but the Painter, that made them. Not but I thinke pg 133Editor’s Note26a Painter, may make a better Face, then ever was; But he 27must doe it, by a kinde of Felicity, (As a Musician that 28maketh an excellent Ayre in Musicke) And not by Rule. Critical Apparatus29A Man shall see Faces, that if you examine them, Part by 30Part, you shall finde never a good; And yet all together doe 31well. If it be true, that the Principall Part of Beauty, is in 32decent Motion, certainly it is no marvaile, though | Persons in [2K3] Editor’s Note33Yeares, seeme many times more Amiable; Pulchrorum Editor’s Note34Autumnus pulcher: For no Youth can be comely, but by Critical Apparatus35Pardon, and considering the Youth, as to make up the 36comelinesse. Beauty is as Summer-Fruits, which are easie to 37corrupt, and cannot last: And, for the most part, it makes 38a dissolute Youth, and an Age a little out of countenance: Editor’s Note39But yet certainly againe, if it light well, it maketh Vertues 40shine, and Vices blush. |

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Notes

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1 Of Beauty.] essay not in 97a12a
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2 XLIII.] 5. H51; 24. 12b, 13a24 21. 12c
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3 like] not in 12b (u)
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Emendation of Accidentals.

3 surely,] 25 (second-state corr.); ⁓‸ 25(u)
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3. Vertue … best plaine set : Ant. R. 2, iv. 473 (i. 689); Tilley V79; Promus, fo. 84V, 'A stone withowt foyle'.
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4 best] best set 12b (H51)–24
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5 Dignity] 25 (second-state corr.); dignity 25(u)
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5–6. rather Dignity … Aspect : Reynolds compares Cicero, De officiis, i. 36, 'Again, there are two orders of beauty: in the one, loveliness predominates; in the other, dignity; of these we ought to regard loveliness ['venustatem'] as the attribute of woman, and dignity ['dignitatem'] as the attribute of man (Loeb).
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6 Aspect] respect 13a24
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6–7. very Beautifull … great Vertue : cf. Ant. R. 2, iv. 473 (i. 689), 'Virtue is nothing but inward beauty; beauty nothing but outward virtue'.
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9–10. Accomplished, … Spirit : 'They have external achievements, but not greatness of nature' (Abbott).
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11–15 But … Times. ] not in 12b (H51)–24
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11 Vertue.] 25 (second-state corr.); ⁓; 25(u)
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11. Augustus Cæsar: cf. Suetonius, Life of Augustus, 79, 'Hee was of an excellent presence and personage, and the same throughout all the degrees of his age most lovely and amiable' (trans. P. Holland [1606], H1–H1V. See 'Character of Augustus Caesar', vi. 347 (339).
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11–12. Titus Vespasianus: emperor ad 69–79, he brought stability and prosperity to the empire after the chaos of Nero's reign. Cf. Suetonius, Life of Vespasian, 2:

At the very first, even in his child-hood, there shone forth in him, the gifts both of body and minde: and the same more and more still by degrees as hee grew in yeeres: A goodly presence and countenance, wherein was seated no lesse majestie than favour and beauty: a speciall cleane strength, albeit his stature was not tall: but his belly bare out somewhat with the most, (trans. Holland [1606], Z1V)

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12. Philip le Belle: Philip IV, King of France (1285–1314). Jean de Serres, A Generall Historie of France, trans. Grimstone (1611), includes a chapter on 'Philip the fourth, called the Faire', but does not comment on his beauty.
Edward the Fourth: King of England (1461–83). Cf. Holinshed, Third volume of Chronicles (1587), 3V6, 'He was a goodlie personage, and princelie to behold, … of visage lovelie, of bodie mightie, strong and cleane made: howbeit, in his latter daies with over liberall diet somewhat corpulent and boorelie, and nathelesse not uncomelie'.
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13. Alcibiades of Athens: Athenian general and statesman (c.450–404 bc). Cf. Plutarch, Lives, 'Alcibiades', S4:

Now for Alcibiades beawtie, … he was wonderfull fayer, being a child, a boye, and a man, and that at all times, which made him marvelous amiable, and beloved of every man. For where Euripides sayeth, that of all the fayer times of the yere, the Autumne or latter season is the fayrest: [quoted in lines 33–4 below] that commonly falleth not out true. And yet it proved true in Alcibiades, though in fewe other: for he was passing fayer even to his latter time, and of good temperature of bodie.

Ismael the Sophy of Persia: Shah Ismael (1500–24), founder of the Safavid dynasty (see LV. 33 n.). Cf. Purchas his Pilgrimage, 3rd edn. (1617), 'Ismael was of faire countenance, of reasonable stature, thicke and large in the shoulders, shaven al but the mustaches; left-handed, stronger then any of his Nobles, but given to Sodomie' (2P1), and 'his bloudie and warre-like spirit dwelt in a lovely and amiable body, adorned with all the Ensignes of beautie' (2P1V).
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18 nor] not 24
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18 No,] ⁓‸ 25
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19 There] and there 12b (H51)-24
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19–20. no … Strangenesse in the Proportion : cf. Cicero, De inventione, II. i. 3, 'in no single case has Nature made anything perfect and finished in every part. Therefore, as if she would have no bounty to lavish on the others if she gave everything to one, she bestows some advantage on one and some on another, but always joins with it some defect' (Loeb).
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20 Proportion] proportions 12b13b, 14
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21–2 the one] one the 12b; one they 12c
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21. Apelles: Cicero, ibid. II. i. 1–3, tells the story not of Apelles, but of Zeuxis, who painted a composite portrait of Venus for the temple, based upon the best features of the five most beautiful maidens of the city. So Pliny, Nat. Hist. XXXV. xxxvi. 2 (Wright). Sandys, A Relation of a Journey … 1610 (1615), 13V, in an account of his visit to the temple, names Apelles.
Albert Durer: Albrecht Durer (1471–1528), German painter and engraver. His De Symmetria Partium in Rectis Humanorum Corporum (Nuremberg, 1532) contains elaborate diagrams showing the proportions of parts of the body to one another and to the whole. Wright compares Donne's satirical portrait of the courtier in 'Satire IV', lines 204–6:
  • And then by Durers rules survay the state
  • Of his each limbe, and with strings the odds tries
  • Of his neck to his legge, and wast to thighes.

(Satires, Epigrams and Verse Letters, ed. W. Milgate [Oxford, 1967])

Editor’s Note
26–7. kinde of Felicity, … Rule : McMahon, 'Francis Bacon's Essay Of Beauty', p. 751, compares Sir William Sanderson, Graphice, or the Use of the Pen and Pensil (1658), pp. 46–7, 'Indeed a Painter may make a better personage than ever was seen since the first Creation; which he does by a kind of felicity, not by Rule; as a Musitian doth his French Aires, not by a true method of setting'.
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29–31 A … well. ] nor in 12b (H51)–24
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33–4. Pulchrorum Autumnus pulcher: 'The autumn of a beautiful person is beautiful.' Recorded in Promus, fo. 90; cf. Apoph. vii. 145, 'Euripides would say of persons that were beautiful, and yet in some years, In fair bodies not only the spring is pleasant, but also the autumn', and Plutarch, quoted above, line 13. Cf. Donne's 'The Autumnall'.
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34–5. no Youth … but by Pardon : a difficult passage; the sense seems to be: youth lacks a principal element of beauty, gracefulness ('decent Motion', line 32), and hence may be deemed beautiful only by making the allowance that youth itself is a kind of beauty.
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35 and] and by H51
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39–40. Vertues shine, and Vices blush: cf. Ant. R. 2, loc. cit., lemma quoted, and 'As a fair garment on a deformed body, such is beauty in a bad man'. McMahon compares La Primaudaye, The Second Part of the French Academie (1580; trans. 1594), S4V, 'For as beautie causeth vertue to appeare more faire, when it is joyned therewith, so contrariwise, it maketh vice more ugly and loathsome to looke upon'.
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