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Bacon as The Wisest, The Brightest, And The Meanest of Mankind

The above sentence is uttered by the great critic as well as the satirist of the Neo-classical age, Alexander Pope in Epistle IV of “His Essay on Man”. He is an eminent religious leading figure of the age who tried to correct the contemporary society through his knowledge. In this regard, his service is extraordinary. ‘The Rape of lock’, The Dunciad’, ‘An Essay on Criticism, “An Essay on Man”etc got a measurable reputation, even the above sentence is also referred in his work, ‘An Essay on Man’.The sentence containing wisdom, indeed, compels the readers as well as the lovers to scrutinize the personage again and again. Besides, it is not out of the product of jealousy, but shows the merit of a great satirist and provides the ground for all kind of criticism.

Alexander pope also scans Francis Bacon from different aspects_ as personal life, his work and wisdom as well as shrewdness that is hidden into his being. Surely Bacon is one of the greatest essayists whose talent added great progress to this genre and succeeded to bring all qualities as a man of Renaissance ought to be. His sentences, dictions and the way of expression also enhance the curiosity of the readers, and make them read his work and gain wisdom that is unique. I think it is the outcome of his knowledge, journey and friendship with all sort of people. Alexander pope traces three superlative words—- the wisest, the brightest and the meanest of mankind. So his mirror of life from A to Z comes into these three words. The other interesting thing is that the historian or the critic does not need to read more in order to support his research about the contemporary society. His work is replete with the spirit of Renaissance. Undoubtedly he is a man of Renaissance____________ Lover of adventure, knowledge, power, wealth etc. Alexander pope adds three words only to him but not to Montaigne or other writers, dramatists or poets. Its main cause is that he finds the centre of great interest or joy that’s why he takes his topic and lets himself enjoy his moods as divided into three words.Let’s discuss in the light of these three words as the experience of Alexander Pope based on ripeness. Whatever the topic is, indeed it shows the maturity and sincerity of the writer. Besides he proves himself to be rich by his knowledge and wisdom.In one line, he hides Bacon’s work, life and behavior. This line, indeed, brought revolution among the fans of Sir. Francis Bacon.

Sir Francis Bacon as the follower of Renaissance Age is extremely different from Montaigne because of style and flow of the knowledge. His essays are classified in the following manner:

Man in his relations to the world and society. (The leading essays of this category are “Of Great Place “Of Friendship” “Of Parents and Children”, “Of Studies” and ‘Of Seditions”.)

Man in his relations to himself. ( The ideas pertaining to this category are found in ‘Of Studies’, ‘Of Ambition’ and ‘Of Revenge’)

Man in his relations to his Maker. (‘Of Death’, ‘Of Unity in Religion’ and ‘Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature’.)

Indeed the above three points are the proof that his essays are helpful in all aspects and his work is very appreciable. Let’s discuss his different aspects as described by Alexander Pope and jostled the world into astonishment:

Worldly Wisdom (The Wisest):

It is indeed obvious that whatever sir Francis Bacon has written is full of worldly wisdom. It also establishes him to be a man of Renaissance as the outcome of his knowledge and the great intellect as gained from Greek, French, English and Latin. Apart from it, he entertained various fields of knowledge, particularly science, philosophy, classics etc. Moreover he is also called the creator of the modern school of experience of research. Even his titles of essays are various and convey worldly wisdom. Besides these are concerned with the conduct of private life, public affairs and seem to be the home of the ripest wisdom of experience. Indeed he does not hide experience from the readers. He can be called sincere to his writing and to his readers.

Indeed it is an amazing treasure for the readers in order to achieve success in this world. So, this worldly Wisdom helps to achieve great position, or how to become rich or prosperous or how to exercise power or how to gain etc, proving him as a philosopher and a moralist. After going through his essays, he adds priority to worldly wisdom and leaves other creeds or science behind.Hence philosophy urges to follow truth where as morality helps to distinguish between the right and the wrong. His survey about follies, falsehood and errors are very strange. He says that all these are the observations of a philosopher- cum moralist. According to him, those who give up truth and follow false hood meet disgrace. His wisdom is great when he says that in telling lie, man is brave towards God but coward towards his fellow men. Indeed he also satirizes being a part of the contemporary society. But on some occasions he supports false hood that’s why Alexander Pope criticizes him.

His essays are reflection of an astounding wisdom. As he says in his essay, OF Friendship, “Man’s joy increases when he takes a piece of advice from his friend and it diminishes his boredom.” Indeed it is the great point that advice based on sincerity helps a man to get rid of seriousness and resolves the matter. He also assures that a friend in need is friend indeed. As he says, “‘Of Truth’, A mixture of lie doth ever add pleasure.” By going it, he reveals that this quality of telling lie or mixing it with truth leads man to success. Its end is very bitter because its pleasure is for time being. This weapon is very mighty in politics for gaining goal, and the politicians use it frequently in order to make it clear that they are the true lovers of the country. Such practice brings pleasure for those who are siding with and coming forth with such feelings .Apart from it, it should be brought into mind that it should be avoided making it the habit of society or the country. His essay, “Of Great place”, issues a lovely point for staying and following worldly wisdom. It is a high position that makes man do good and do evil. Evil is condemned whereas the power to do good should be the aim of all human actions. In regard of his wisdom, the following sentences are picked out from his essays in order to let the readers discuss his philosophical and moral views which are showering wisdom:

01. “He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.”

02. “Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark.”

03. “Revenge is a kind of wild Justice.”

04. “Reading maketh a full man conference a ready man and writing an exact man.”

05. “A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure.”

06. “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested.”

The Brightest (His Brightness):

Alexander pope calls Francis Bacon,” The brightest,” because of his style, using aphoristic and terse sentences having extensive boundary in case of composing something better. In other words, for more convenience it can be said that one can write essay or compose books on each and every sentences. Indeed they are nothing but proverbs, expressing moral values and wisdom of the world. If one goes through the proverbs, they always hold short sentences containing great wisdom. And its structure and the diction is very clear, inviting the wisdom of the world to be flowed into it, very witty. As he says,

“Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, and best servants but not always best subject.” or

“Wives are young men mistresses, companions for middle age and old man’s nurses.” Indeed the both sentences are very witty, and he also clears that wife cannot be excluded from life. She is an inevitable support for man in his age as divided into three portions. Besides the unmarried are not blessed as the married are. His other essay, “Of Truth” wherein he declares, “A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure”. It is very attractive and witty sentence. He is of the opinion that man speaks truth, but adding lie to it makes it more interesting and attractive. In his essay, ‘Of Great Place’ tells the sources by which man can achieve high position and warns to those who possess high point against the vices of authority. And ‘Of Studies’ he acquaints the readers with the different ways or questions of study.

Moreover it is a great art that he capsulate the sea. Further more he expresses his clear idea in a few words as are described in proverbs. In his style, he becomes brighter because of using similes, metaphors in order to make his essays more effective. The fact is that such composition or writing literary work was the habit of that age. The dramatists of the age also used short sentences are used as proverbs working as examples for the coming generations.

His essays are full of illustration, allusions and quotations. He has borrowed quotations from Latin which show Becan’s love for learning. In his essay,” Of Truth” he adds reference of Pilate Lucian and Montaigne; even one can find the quotations from the Bible. Indeed they enrich the material of his essays. Besides the quotations of Greek philosophers—– Tacitus, Aristotle Heraclitus etc are also found in his essays. In result such quotations and allusions shower nothing but wisdom and brighten his style. Apart from it they also make him a philosopher as well as a moralist.

He is the brightest because of his aphoristic style. Some sentences are drawn from his essays as below in order to convey the readers in respect of the subject and his sentences are spontaneous:

“He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.”

“Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark.”

“Revenge is a kind wild Justice.”

“Reading maketh a full man conference a ready man and writing an exact man.”

“A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure.”

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested.”

“All rising to great place is by a Wisdom stair”

“Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability.”

“Crafty men condemn studies; simple men admire then; and wise men use them.”

The Meanest of Mankind:

This word, “Meanest” reveals contrast to the words as illustrated above,” the wisest and the brightest.” The first two words are also related to his work, appreciating his intellect and wisdom whereas the last word also reveals his moral character which is not clear while going through his personal life. If a person who is good by his work that possesses a huge wisdom, but his moral side looks dim and instigates the readers to criticize against him. Alexander pope talks about the three criteria which are hidden into his personality. His work is evident of his wisdom and brightness, whereas the personal life reveals follies which were performed during the life for achieving power and wealth. So, all these are the features of Renaissance—– the thirst for power, wealth, knowledge and wisdom. Thus the critic also pursues his work and life and measures all as should be perused by any good critic are brought before the readers in order to analyze the character of a man of great wisdom. Indeed this is the feature of the age and it can not harm his work, but to be accepted as his weak point. Apart from it, he was also condemned to be the follower of Machiavellian principles that’s why he insisted on worldly success. He was very wise and busy for searching chance. This feature is also found in the politicians of all countries but its excess is found in the politicians of Pakistan that’s why the country is going to be weak day by day in all fields.

Intellectually Francis Bacon is safe, but morally he is corrupt. Its main cause was his interest in politics that’s why he was the owner of greed, affectation and callousness. There is a great example, supporting his corruption and deception. His nature was very strange because he betrayed his friends as he did with the Earl of Essex, the legal proceedings against the man who was his patron. He was ambitious and for that purpose he used to take part in politics and used to plot conspiracy against his friends etc. He was also charged of corruption and returned the amount. But in his essay, “Of Ambition” he condemns ambition as the worst, the most ignominious thing, but he himself loves it. Alexander Pope enjoyed a lot having criticized him on this ground.

It is the concluding point that every age brings its trend which remains conspicuous and runs into the blood of stake-holders and they depict the same element in their work. So it is the same thing confronting the essayist and is condemned to be the meanest. As the hero of Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus also represents the elements of his age and sells his soul in order to discover new things, knowledge and power. Besides Bacon is also the main character of the same age. Simultaneously wealth is also the dominant factor of the age whether it is earned by hook or by crook. The age in which Alexander Pope comes that is the Neo – classical. It possesses different elements in order to lead to the religion or morality. Thus in religion, greed and deception are forbidden by which one ruins the life of others. According to the age, Alexander Pope is also right, but his sentence cannot harm Francis Bacon because of the trends of the age.

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