Sunday, September 4, 2016

Timothy Spearman writes

The Empiricist and the Queen

I fear love’s timetable is out of sync;
Twin souls from the expanse brought from the brink.
Courtiers’ courtly love false damsels do court,
While true love’s capacity is called forth.

No prince made appeal to more rightful claim
With golden intentions undeservèd of blame.
Thou art betrothed to me, hand in my hand;
Signed and sealed soul contract in heaven planned.
No suitor could produce a stronger suit,
No joker or king a nobler pursuit.
Thou art truer to me in thy station
Than those presiding as lords of Creation.

Am I fortune’s victim misbegotten
Fallen star of origin forgotten?
Or child of light of Holy Spirit of Life
Fated to rescue troubled souls from strife,
Extracting them from kingdom’s sorrow
As promise’s beacon to tomorrow?

Question not heaven’s noblest intent
Or that thou art from seventh heaven sent.
Thou art more suited to thy position
In this time of galactic transition
Than migrating birds in a southern clime
Seeking shelter’s warmth in the wintertime.

I maketh heart’s solemn pledge to thee now,
As fidelity’s promise and love’s vow,
That if I can’t have thy hand in marriage,
I will not thy memory disparage.
Extracting pollen from another flower
While consigning thee to another hour;
I’ll remain as true to thee through the ages
As the proclamations of the sages.


  1. Francis Bacon – the father of the essay, of the scientific method, of English common law adjudication, and of the modern research university (his “Essayes: Religious Meditations. Places of Perswasion and Disswasion. Seene and Allowed (1597) was his first published book, though a much-enlarged 2nd edition appeared in 1612, and “Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall” in 1625; his “Novum Organum Scientiarum” (new instrument of science, 1620); his unfinished utopian novel “The New Atlantis”) – and, according to the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosæ Crucis, the largest Rosicrucian organization in the world, the "imperator" (leader) of the Rosicrucian Order in both Europe and England -- , though the claim is often disputed; however, was one of the most important figures of the English Renaissance. His mother’s sister was married to Elizabeth I’s chief advisor William Cecil (1st Baron Burghley), and he entered Trinity College, Cambridge at 12, remaining there three years under the personal tutelage of a future Archbishop of Canterbury. Elizabeth met him there and began calling him “the young lord keeper," but he was generally neglected at court until after she was followed on the throne by James I in 1603.

  2. Nevertheless, in 1576, at 15 he was sent abroad with the English ambassador in Paris and spent the next three years visiting France, Italy, and Spain, occasionally delivering diplomatic letters to England for his uncle, other personages, and the queen herself. An early portrait shows him at 18 with the inscription, “Si tabula daretur digna animum malle” (If one could but paint his mind). He may have engaged in a clandestine affair with queen Marguerite of Navarre, of whom Pierre de Bourdeille (seigneur de Brantôme) wrote, “To speak now of the beauty of this rare Princess: I believe that all those who are, will be, or ever been, will be plain beside it and cannot have beauty.... No Goddess was ever seen more beautiful... To suitably proclaim her charms, merits, virtues, God must lengthen the earth and heighten the sky, since space.... is lacking for the flight of her perfections and renown.” In addition to her looks, she was a gifted conversationalist and memoirist. Nearly a decade older than Bacon, Marguerite was the daughter of Henri II, who had three sons who became kings of France but had no sons themselves. One of these, Charles IX, had married her to the king of Navarre when she was 19, and when he succeeded to the French throne in 1589 as Henri IV she became queen. Her father and brothers were the last of the Valois dynasty, her husband was a Bourbon, their closest relatives, but they were divided by religion. The marriage was held at Notre Dame cathedral, and the groom had to reamin outside during the Catholic ceremony because he was a Huguenot. Six days later, her mother Catherine de' Medici launched the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre against the Protestants who had assembled in Paris to celebrate the royal wedding. Marguerite saved the lives of many, including her husband, by keeping them in her rooms and refusing to admit the assassins. After three years of confinement at court, he escaped Paris in 1576, but she remained behind. During their separation, they both openly kept other lovers and quarreled frequently. Their royal marriage was finally annulled in 1589.

  3. Bacon returned to England in 1579 and became a member of Parliament in 1581 but continued to be snubbed at court. In 1594 he failed to gain appointment as attorney general, a post which went to the nation’s leading jurist, Sir Edward Coke, whose “Institutes of the Lawes of England” became the basis of English jurisprudence and whose “ Petition of Right” is one of its three crucial constitutional documents (with the Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights). Bacon’s effort to marry a wealthy young widow failed (she became engaged to Coke), and in 1598 he was arrested for debt. In 1604, at 45, he married the 14-year-old daughter of a well-connected London alderman and MP. In 1607 he became solicitor general, and in 1609-10 played a leading role in establishing British colonies in North America (especially Virginia, the Carolinas and Newfoundland), and in 1613 attorney general. In 1614 Parliament banned him from sitting in that role (though he continued as MP) due to his support of James’ policies. He served as regent for one month in 1617, was named lord chancellor in 1618, and his wife was given official precedence among court ladies, The same year he was created Baron Verulam and elevated to viscount St Alban in1621. However, Coke engineered the formation and proceedings of a parliamentary committee to investigate corruption, which charged him with 23 separate counts. He was barred from office and Parliament, sentenced to a £40,000 fine, and committed to the Tower of London, but James freed him within days and remitted the fine. In 1625 he became estranged from his wife and disinherited her. The following year he died of pneumonia, contracted while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat. He left personal assets worth about £7,000 and lands that brought £6,000 when sold, but his debts amounted to more than £23,000 (more than £3m at current value).


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