Daily Archives: September 15, 2014

The Sharp Iron Part

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Emin set his horse on a gentle trot, and came near another monastery on the right of a very smooth plain, within half a mile from his abode; and on the left was a flock of sheep, which the author did not conceive to be the property of Etmiatzin. The shepherds took him to be a Turk; and he took them to be Mahometans. They set a dozen large furious dogs before and behind to annoy him from going on; and attacked him so close as almost to pull him down from his horse. He bore the insult about five minutes, endeavoring, with great patience, to avoid mischief, till the poor beast could not move forward, and one of the dogs jumped up and fixed his teeth in the horse’s upper lip. This provoked him at last to shoot the dog with a pistol, the gift of his friend lord Bolinbroke; the rest ran away and cleared the passage; and the shepherds stood back threatening him in Turkish, as he had committed a murder in killing a valuable dog of the Three Churches. It happened very luckily both for Emin and for those saucy fellows, that at the time of firing the pistol, he broke the butt in two, and the sharp iron part ran almost through the palm of his right hand; by which he was so much disabled, that it entirely took away his strength, and prevented him fortunately from cutting down all six of them in a heat of passion; he not in the least imagining the stupid unchristian consequence of it.

Emin, Life and Adventures, 1792

Preface to a Fable

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This fable my lord devised, to the end that he might exhibit therein, a model or description of a college, instituted for the interpreting of nature, and the producing of great and marvelous works, for the benefit of men; under the name of Solomon’s house, or the college of the six days works. And even so far his lordship has proceeded, as to finish that part. Certainly the model is more vast and high, than can possibly be imitated in all things; notwithstanding most things therein are within men’s power to effect. His lordship thought also in this present fable, to have composed a frame of laws, or of the best state or mold of a commonwealth; but foreseeing it would be a long work, his desire of collecting the natural history diverted him, which he preferred many degrees before it.

Rawley, Preface: New Atlantis, 1626

Consider (“Think Well On’t; or Reflections on the Great Truths,” 1736)

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Consider, fifthly, how the cross lying flat on the ground, they lay our dear Redeemer stretched out upon it, who like a meek lamb makes no resistance. And first drawing his right hand to the place designed to fix it on, they drive with their hammers a sharp gross nail through the palm of his hand, forcing its way with incredible torment through the sinews, veins, muscles and bones, of which the hand is composed, into the hard wood of the cross. In the meantime the whole body, to favor that wound and the pierced sinews, was naturally drawn towards the right side, but was no long permitted to remain so; for immediately these cruel butchers laying hold of his other arm, and hand, violently drag him towards the left side, in order to nail that hand also to the place designed for it. Then pulling down his legs, they fasten his sacred feet in like manner with nails to the wood. And all this with such violent cruelty, that ‘tis thought with stretching and pulling they very much strained his whole body, and disjointed it in many parts, according to that of the royal prophet: “They have dug my hands and feet; they have numbered all my bones,” Psalm 21.

Think Well On’t; or Reflections on the Great Truths, 1736

Chariot (from Sir Francis Bacon’s “New Atlantis,” 1626)

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51HZ0NSjHdL._AA160_The chariot was all of cedar, gilt, and adorned with crystal; save that the fore-end had panels of sapphires, set in borders of gold; and the hinder-end the like of emeralds of the Peru color. There was also a sun of gold, radiant, upon the top, in the midst; and on the top before, a small cherub of gold, with wings displayed. The chariot was covered with cloth of gold tissued upon blue. He had before him fifty attendants, young men all, in white satin loose coats to the mid leg; and stockings of white silk; and shoes of blue velvet; and hats of blue velvet; with fine plumes of diverse colors, set round like hatbands. Next before the chariot, when two men, bareheaded, in linen garments down to the foot, girt, and shoes of blue velvet; who carried, the one a crosier, the other a pastoral staff like a sheep hook: neither of them of metal, but the crosier of balmwood, the pastoral staff of cedar.

Sir Francis Bacon: The New Atlantis, 1626

A Coinage for Ireland

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In 1331, amerciaments were ordered to be received no longer in heifers, but in deniers. Edward the third passed this decree in the hope of improving the trade of Ireland, and the revenue; and he ordered a coinage for Ireland, but no specimens of it have been found. Seventy years after, the prince of Leinster’s horse was rated at 400 cows, and the relator of this fact expressly adds, that, in Ireland, they barter by exchange, one commodity for another, and not for ready money. Even so late as 1570, Campion says, they exchange by commutation of wares for the most part, and have utterly no coin stirring in any of the great lord’s houses. The couped arm occurs on many of the Danish, Irish, as well as on the Saxon coins. It is well explained by the law of Athelstan, “If any coiner adulterates money, let his hand be cut off and fixed over the mint.” A coin of Sihtric, found in Queen’s county, shows the hand, with a nail through the palm.

Monthly Repertory, 1708