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Love and Self-love

Introduction by James Spedding

  A book on the forbidden subject of the succession had appeared in Holland, with a dedication to Essex as the man who, in respect of "nobility, calling, favour with his prince, and high liking of the people," was likely to have most sway in deciding this great affair, etc. This book came into the Queen's hands, who showed it to Essex (3rd November) in a manner which greatly disturbed him, and they say made him fall really ill. But the Queen coming to visit him, and being satisfied, I suppose, that he had had nothing to do with it, made all fair again. And on the 12th of November the Court news was that "my Lord of Essex had put off the melancholy he fell into by a printed book delivered to the Queen; wherein the harm was meant him, by her Majesty's gracious favour and wisdom is turned to his good, and strengthens her love unto him; for I hear that within these four days many letters sent to herself from foreign countries were delivered only to my Lord of Essex, and he to answer them." And a few days after we find him adorning the triumphs of the Queen's day with a "device;" of which, as Bacon had a principal hand in it, I shall now give what particulars I can....
    A contemporary report, written four days after, runs thus:--
  My Lord of Essex's device is much commended in these late triumphs. Some pretty while before he came in himself to the tilt, he sent his page with some speech to the queen, who returned with her Majesty's glove. And when he came himself, he was met with an old Hermit, a Secretary of State, a brave Soldier, and an Esquire. The first presented him with a book of meditations; the second with political discourses; the third with orations of brave-fought battles; the fourth was but his own follower, to whom the other three imparted much of their purpose before he came in. [They] devised with him, persuading him to this or that course of life, according to their inclinations. Comes into the tiltyard unthought upon the ordinary postboy of London, a ragged villain all bemired, upon a poor lean jade, galloping and blowing for life, and delivered the Secretary a packet of letters, which he presently offered my Lord of Essex; and with this dumb show our eyes were fed for that time. In the after-supper, before the Queen, they first delivered a well-penned speech to move this worthy knight to leave his vain following of Love, and to betake him to heavenly meditation: the secretaries all tending to have him follow matters of state, the soldiers persuading him to the war; but the esquire answered them all, and concluded with an excellent but too plain English, that this knight would never forsake his mistress's love, whose Virtue made all his thoughts divine, whose Wisdom taught him all true policy, whose Beauty and Worth were at all times able to make him fit to command armies. He showed all the defects and imperfections of all their times, and therefore thought his course of life to be best in serving his mistress. The old man was he that in Cambridge played Giraldy, Morley played the Secretary, and he that played Pedantiq was the soldier, and Toby Matthew acted the Squire's part. The world makes many untrue constructions of these speeches, comparing the Hermit and the Secretary to two of the lords, and the Soldier to Sir Roger Williams; but the Queen said that if she had thought there had been so much said of her, she would not have been there that night, and so went to bed.   
      It is not much that one can gather from this report (which appears moreover to have suffered from errors of the transcriber) as to the character of the entertainment; but it serves to identify as belonging to it, a paper without heading, docket, or date, found in the Lambeth collection; which paper is further proved by some notes and portions of the rough draft still extant in Bacon's handwriting to be of his composition. One of these fragments enables us to get a clearer idea of the plot of the piece than can be gathered from the report just quoted. It seems to have been a sequel to some former device of the same kind; in which Philautia, the goddess of Self-love, had been represented as addressing some persuasion to the Queen (probably against giving way to her affection for Erophilus), and had been answered by her Squire. On this occasion Philautia is represented as endeavouring to persuade Erophilus not to give way to his affection for the Queen.
    A page in Bacon's own most careless hand, which seems to be a discarded beginning, explains the design.
      The persons to be three: one dressed like an Heremite or Philosopher, representing Contemplation; the second like a Capitain, representing Fame; and the third like a Counsellor of Estate, representing Experience: the third to begin to the Squire, as being the master of the best behaviour or compliment, though he speak last.
    Since Lady Philautia, whose interview with you you cannot but remember, what time your opposition against the force of her arguments was like the opposition of a rainbow against the sun, pretty colours but easily scattered, this lady hath since taken some remorse towards your Master Erophilus; for finding that he hath prevailed with his mistress, and so made his condition more unequal, she taketh herself bound in ... not to leave him wholly at disadvantage, and therefore hath sent us to treat with him for his own good....
      Another paper belonging to the same bundle, and also in Bacon's handwriting, is in the form of a letter from Philautia to the Queen; to be delivered, I suppose, by the ambassadors, and serve for their introduction. Its natural place in the entertainment would be at the commencement of proceedings after supper in the presence. The notes [here included {in brackets}] are in Bacon's hand like the rest, and written in the margin opposite to the sentences to which I have referred them. They are not however part of the composition, but comments upon it addressed to the Earl of Essex.
  Excellent Queen,
    Making report to Pallas, upon whom Philautia depends {Frustra sapit qui sibimet sapit}, of my last audience with your Majesty and of the opposition I found by the feigning tongue of a disguised Squire, and also of the inclination of countenance and ear which I discerned in your Majesty rather towards my ground than to his voluntary, the Goddess allowed well of my endeavour and said no more at that time. But few days since she called me to her, and told me that my persuasions had done good {That your Lordship knoweth whether the Queen have profited in Self-Love}, yet that it was not amiss to refresh them. I attending in silence her furder pleasure, after a little pause putting her shield before her eyes as she useth when she studieth to resolve, Better (said she) raise the siege than send continual succours, and that may be done by stratagem. This, Philautia, shall you do. Address yourself to Erophilus. You know the rest: we shall see what answer or invention the Goddess of fools (?) (so many times she will call Jupiter's fair daughter) will provide for him against your assailings. And then the alone Queen {I pray God she be not too much alone, but it is a name of excellency and virginity.} (so she ever terms your Majesty) will see that she hath had Philautia's first offer, and that if she reject it, it will be received elsewhere to her disadvantage. And upon my humble reverence to depart she cleared (?) her countenance, and said, The time makes for you. {That your Lordship knoweth, and I in part, in regard of the Queen's unkind dealing, which may persuade you to self-love.} I gladly received her instructions. Only because I had negotiated with your Majesty myself I would not vouchsafe to deal with an inferior in person: but have put them in commission that your Majesty will see can very well acquit themselves, and will at least make you sport, which Philautia for a vale desireth you to contrive out of all others' earnest, and so kisseth your serene hands, and resteth,
    Your Majesty's faithful remembrancer,
      Then follows the beginning of the speech of the Hermit, -- a first draft, I suppose, -- afterwards entirely rewritten, as we shall see.
The Speech of the Heremite or Philosopher, in wish of Contemplation or Studies.

    Bear unto thy master my advice as a token wrapped up now in few words, but then it will show fair when it shall be unfolded in his experience.
    Let him not borrow other men's opinions to direct himself: Either they feel not that which he feeleth, or they set him the way to their own journey's end.
    Neither let him tie himself to the courses he is already entered into; but let him make the time to come the disciple of the time past and not the servant.
    Will he never discern manacles from bracelets, nor burdens from robes? Will he never cease to profess that is not believed, to offer that is not accepted, and to tax himself at that which is not remitted? Doth he not perceive that the infiniteness of the affection which he pretendeth and the obligation which he acknowledgeth doth but diminish the thanks of his services, procure the more easily imputations, and make him serve but for to discharge passion, to exercise humour, and to triumph over in power? Can he find none that he loveth ill enough to resign unto such conditions? ...

      Here the MS. ends at the bottom of the first page of the sheet, leaving the other three pages blank. It seems that Bacon had thrown this aside and begun afresh; for in another volume of the same collection there is a paper containing four speeches, -- the Squire's speech in the tiltyard, the Hermit's, the Soldier's, and the Secretary's speeches in the presence, -- fairly copied; in which much of the Hermit's speech is transferred to the Secretary. The paper has no heading, date, or docket; but a comparison of it with Rowland Whyte's description and with the fragments above given will leave no doubt either as to the occasion or the authorship.
[@ Works VIII, 374-8]

The Squire's Speech in the Tiltyard

The Hermit's Speech in the Presence

The Soldier's Speech

The Statesman's Speech

The Reply of the Squire

    Though there can be no reasonable doubt that the foregoing speeches were written by Bacon, it is I believe by mere accident that they pass for his. In Rowland Whyte's letter there is no allusion to Bacon at all: he speaks merely of "my Lord of Essex's device:" and we know from Sir Henry Wotton, that Essex had the reputation of a great artist in such matters. "For the Earl's writings," says he, "they are beyond example; especially in his familiar letters, and things of delight at Court, when he would remit his serious habits; as may be yet seen in his Impresses and Inventions of Entertainment, and above all in his darling piece of love and self-love. His style was an elegant perspicuity, rich of phrase, but seldom any bold metaphors; and so far from tumour, that it rather wanted a little elevation." The paper containing the four speeches has nothing on the face of it to connect it with Bacon; and had it been found by itself, or in other company, by any one not familiar with Bacon's style or not in pursuit of Baconiana, -- especially if he had seen the passages above quoted from the 'Sydney Papers' and the 'Reliquiae Wottonianae,' -- it would naturally have been set down as the Earl's own composition.
[@ Works VIII, 386]