Volltext: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

The Hiſtory of Life and Death. watching, ſometimes to ſleep; but to ſleep oftneſt: again, that he ſhould ſometimes
give himſelf to faſting, ſometimes to feaſting; but to feaſting oftneſt: that he ſhould
ſometimes inure himſelf to great labours of the miud, ſometimes to relaxations of
the ſame; but to relaxations oftmeſt. Certainly this is withont all queſtion, that Diet
well ordered bears the greateſt part in the prolongation of life: neither did I ever meet
an extream long liv’d man, but beingasked of his courſe, he obſerved ſomething pe-
culiar; ſome one thing, ſome another. I remember an old man, above an hundred
years of age, who was produced as witneſs touching an ancient Preſcription. When
he had finiſhed his teſtimony the Jugde familiarly asked him how he came to live ſo long. He anſwered, beſide expectation, and not without the laughter of the hearers, By
eating before I was hungry, and drinking before I was dry. But of theſe things we ſhall
ſpeak hereafter.

A Life led in Religion and in Holy Exerciſes ſeemeth to conduce to long life. There
are in this kind of life theſe things, Leiſure, Admiration and Contemplation of hea-
venly things, Joyes not ſenſual, noblehopes, wholſome Fears, ſweet Sorrows; laſtly,
continual Renovations by Obſervances, Penances, Expiations: all which are very pow-
erful to the prolongation of life. Unto which if you add that auſtere diet which hard-
neth the maſs of the Body, and humbleth the Spirits, no marvel if an extraordinary
length of life do follow; ſuch was that of Paul the Hermite, Simeon Stelita the Columnar
Anchorite, and of many other Hermites and Anchorites.



Next unto this is the life led in good Letters, ſuch as was that of Philoſophers, Rhe-
toricians, Grammarians. This life is alſo led in leiſure, and in thoſe thoughts, which,
ſeeing they are ſevered from the affairs of the world, bite not, but rather delight
throughtheir Variety and Impertinency: They live alſo at their pleaſure, ſpending their
time in ſuch things as like them beſt, and for the moſt part in the company of young
men, which is ever the moſt chearful. But in Philoſophies there is great difference
betwixt the Sects as touching long life: For thoſe Philoſophies which have in them a
touch of Superſtition, and are converſant in high Contemplations, are the beſt; as the
Pytbagorical and Platonick: alſo thoſe which did inſtitute a perambulation of the
world, and conſidered the variety of natural things, and had reachleſs, and high, and
magnanimous thoughts, (as of Infinitum, of the Stars, of the Heroical Vertues, and
ſuch like) were good for lengthning of life; ſuch were thoſe of Democritus Philolaus,
Xenophanes, the Aſtrologians and stoicks: alſo thoſe which had no profound Specu-
lation in them, but diſcourſed calmly on both fides, out of common Senſe, and there-
ceived Opinions, without any ſharp Inquiſitions, were likewiſe good; ſuch were thoſe
of Carneades and the Academicks, alſo of the Rhetoricians and Grammarians. But
contrary, Philoſophies converſant in perplexing Subtilties, and which pronounced pe-
remptorily, and which examined and wreſted all things to the Scale of Principles, laſtly,
which were thorny and narrow, were evil: ſuch were thoſe commonly of the Peripa-
teticks, and of the school-men.



The Country life alſo is well fitted for long life: it is much abroad, and in the open
air, it is not ſlothful, but ever in employment; it feedeth upon freſh Cates, and un-
bought; it is without Cares and Envy.



For the Military life, we have a good opinion of that whilſt a man is young. Certain-
ly many excellent Warriors have been long-liv’d; Corvinus, camillus, Xenophon, Ageſi-
laus, with others both ancient and modern. No doubt it furthereth long life to have
all things from our youth to our elder age mend, and grow to the better, that a Youth
full of croſſes may miniſter ſweetneſs to our Old age. We conceive alſo that Military
affections, inflamed with a deſire of Fighting, and hope of Victory, do infuſe ſuch a
heat into the Spirits, as may be profitable for long life.




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