Francis Bacon (15611626). Of the Wisdom of the Ancients. 1857.
To His Nursing-Mother
The Famous University of Cambridge
SINCE without philosophy I care not to live, I must needs hold you in great honour, from whom these defences and solaces of life have come to me. To you on this account I profess to owe both myself and all that is mine; and therefore it is the less strange, if I requite you with what is your own; that with a natural motion it may return to the place whence it came. And, yet I know not how it is, but there are few footprints pointing back towards you, among the infinite number that have gone forth from you. Nor shall I take too much to myself (I think), if by reason of that little acquaintance with affairs which my kind and plan of life has necessarily carried with it, I indulge a hope that the inventions of the learned may receive some accession by these labours of mine. Certainly I am of opinion that speculative studies when transplanted into active life acquire some new grace and vigour, and having more matter to feed them, strike their roots perhaps deeper, or at least grow taller and fuller leaved. Nor do you yourselves (as I think) know how widely your own studies extend, and how many things they concern. Yet it is fit that all should be attributed to you and be counted to your honour, since all increase is due in great part to the beginning. You will not however expect from a man of business anything exquisite; any miracles or prerogatives of leisure; but you will attribute to my great love for you and yours even this,that among the thorns of business these things have not quite perished, but there is preserved for you so much of your own.