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In the second edition the change is merely verbal:
“ Doubt that the sun doth move." 1604.1 The doctrine that the earth is the centre of the universe around which the sun and stars daily revolve is thus retained. It has been retained in every succeeding edition of the play to the present time. How can this, also, be accounted for?
Copernicus published his heliocentric theory of the solar system in 1543, eighteen years before Bacon was born. Bruno taught it in Geneva in 1580; in Paris, in 1582; in London and Oxford, in 1583; in Germany, in 1584; in Switzerland, in 1588; in Venice, in 1590; and he was burned at the stake as a martyr to it in Rome in 1600; Kepler announced two of his great laws, governing planetary motions, in 1609; Galileo established the truth of the Copernican system beyond the shadow of a doubt by his discoveries of the phases of Venus and the satellites of Jupiter in 1610; Harriot saw the sun spots and proved the rotation of that luminary on its axis in 1611 ; Kepler proclaimed his third law in 1619; and yet, notwithstanding all these repeated and wonderful demonstrations and in opposition to the general current of contemporary thought,2 Bacon persistently and with ever increasing vehemence adhered to the old theory to the day of his death. The author of the Plays did the same. The two were agreed in holding to the cycles and epicycles of Ptolemy after all the rest of the scientific world had rejected them; and they were also agreed in rejecting the Copernican theory after all the rest of the scientific world had accepted it.
Coincidence number two.
1 The change was made necessary in reforming the stanza by the promotion of the word stars to the first line.
2 We take no notice of the opinions of theologians, or of astronomers writing under the influence of the Church.
8 In 1622, Bacon admitted that the Copernican theory had become prevalent (quæ nunc quoque invaluit), but he thought that a compromise might
In the second edition of ‘Hamlet,' 1604, we find the tides of the ocean attributed, in accordance with popular opinion, to the influence of the moon.
" The moist star,
This was repeated in the third quarto, 1605; in the fourth, 1611; in the fifth or undated quarto; but in the first folio (1623), the lines were omitted. Why?
During the Christmas revels at Gray's Inn in 1594, Bacon contributed to the entertainment, among other things, a poem in blank verse, known as the Gray's Inn Masque. It is full of those references to natural philosophy in which the author took so much delight, and especially on this occasion when Queen Elizabeth was the subject, to the various forms of attraction exerted by one body upon another in the world. Of the influence of the moon, he says:
“ Your rock claims kindred of the polar star,
Because it draws the needle to the north;
be effected between the two opposing systems, evidently unable, on account of the mathematical principles involved, to comprehend either of them. At one time he seems to have deprecated both.
A slight circumstance throws some light upon the state of his mind on this subject. In the first edition of the 'Advancement of Learning' (1605), he said that “the mathematicians cannot satisfy themselves, except they reduce the motions of the celestial bodies to perfect circles, rejecting spiral lines, and laboring to be discharged of eccentrics.” In the second edition (1623) he omitted the reference to eccentrics.
“ Shakespeare does not appear to have got beyond the Ptolemaic system of the universe.". Elze's William Shakespeare, page 390.
1 The Masque is not in Bacon's name, but no one can read it and doubt its authorship Bacon was the leading promoter of these revels.
At this time, then, Bacon held to the common opinion that the moon controls the tides; but later in life, in or about 1616, he made an elaborate investigation into these phenomena, and in a treatise entitled De Fluxu et Refluxu Maris, definitely rejected the lunar theory.
“We dare not proceed so far as to assert that the motions of the sun or moon are the causes of the motions below, which correspond thereto; or tbat the sun and moon have a dominion or influence over these motions of the sea, though such kind of thoughts find an easy entrance into the minds of men by reason of the veneration they pay to the celestial bodies.” — Bacon's De Fluxu et Refluxu Maris.
“ Whether the moon be in her increase or wane; whether she be above or under the earth ; whether she be elevated higher or lower above the horizon; whether she be in the meridian or else
1 where; the ebb and flow of the sea have no correspondence with any of these phenomena." - Ibid. . In every
edition of Hamlet' published previously to 1616, the theory is stated and approved; in every edition published after 1616, it is omitted.
Coincidence number three.
IV In ‘Hamlet,' again, we have a singular doctrine in the sphere of moral philosophy, advanced by the author in his early years but subsequently withdrawn.
1 The tides are attributed to the influence of the moon in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and the “Winter's Tale ;' but both of these plays were written long before the date of Bacon's change of opinion on the subject. The former we know was not revised by the author for publication in the folio ; and we have no reason to believe that the latter, then printed for the first time, underwent any revision after 1616.
The same theory is stated, also, in ‘King Lear' and the First Part of * Henry IV.;' but the tragedy was in existence in 1606, and the historical play considerably earlier. The 'Tempest' was written in 1613.
It should be added, however, that the spring or monthly tides were ascribed by Bacon to the influence of the moon. The passage from Hamlet'has been restored to the text by modern editors.
The prince, expostulating with his mother in the celebrated chamber-scene where Polonius was hidden behind the arras, says to her, —
Sense, sure, you have,
The commentators can make nothing of these words. One of them suggests that for“ motion " we substitute notion ; another, emotion. Others still contend that the misprint is in the first part of the sentence; that “sense” must be understood to mean sensation or sensibility. Dr. Ingleby is certain that Hamlet refers to the Queen's wanton impulse. The difficulty is complicated, too, by the fact that the lines were omitted from the revised version of the play in the folio of 1623, concerning which, however, the most daring commentator has not ventured to offer a remark. But in Bacon's
a prose works we find not only an explanation of the passage in the quarto, but also the reason why it was excluded from the folio.
The Advancement of Learning' was published in 1605, one year after the quarto of ‘Hamlet' containing the sentence in question appeared; but no repudiation of the old doctrine, that everything that has motion must have sense, is found in it. Indeed, Bacon seems to have had at that time a lingering opinion that the doctrine is true, even as applied to the planets, in the influence which these wanderers were then supposed to exert over the affairs of men. But in 1623 he published a new edition of the Advancement' in Latin, under the title of De Augmentis Scientiarum, and therein expressly declared that the doctrine is untrue; that there can be motion in inanimate bodies without sense, but with what he called a kind of perception. He said:
“ Ignorance on this point drove some of the ancient philosophers to suppose that a soul is infused into all bodies without distinction; for they could not conceive how there can be motion without sense, or sense without a soul.”
The Shake-speare folio with its revised version of Hamlet' came out in the same year (1623); and the passage in question, having run through all previous editions of the play,i. e., in 1604, in 1605, in 1611, and in the undated quarto, but now no longer harmonizing with the author's views, dropped out.
Coincidence number four.
King Lear' was published in quarto in 1608, two editions having been issued in that year. It contains the following speeches on the disorders of the time:
“ Gloucester. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us; though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects. Love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide; in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord ; in palaces, treason; and the bond crack'd 'twixt son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father. The king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen the best of our time; machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders follow us disquietly to our graves.”
[Erit. “ Edmund. ..0! these eclipses do portend these divisions.” — i. 2.
The next appearance of the play, in print, was in the folio of 1623, where the closing part of Edmund's soliloquy, suggested by what Gloucester had said before leaving the stage, is given as follows:
“O! these eclipses do portend these divisions. Fa, sol, la, mi.”
Here is a musical phrase added to the text fifteen years after the play was first printed; probably seventeen or eighteen years after the play was written. It consists of syllables for solmization (including a tritonus or sharp fourth), which in Shake-speare's time and until a comparatively recent date implied a series of sounds exceedingly disagreeable to the ear. It was called the “ devil in music.” As an illustration of the state of moral, political, and physi