Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

New Atlantis. and in the end concluded, that we might do well to think with our
ſelves what time of ſtay we would demand of the State; and bad us
not to ſcant our ſelves, for he would procure ſuch time as we deſired. Whereupon we all roſe up and preſented our ſelves to skiſs the skirt of
his Tippet; but he would not ſuffer us, and ſo took his leave. But when
it came once amongſt our people, that the State uſed to offer conditions to
ſtrangers that would ſtay, we had work enough to get any of our men to
look to our Ship, and to keep them from going preſently to the Governor
to crave conditions; but with much ado, we refrained them till we might
agree what courſe to take.

We took our ſelves now for Freemen, ſeeing there was no danger of
our utter perdition, and lived moſt joyfully, going abroad, and ſeeing
what was to beſeen in the City and places adjacent within our Tedder, and
obtaining acquaintance with many of the City, not of the meaneſt qua-
lity, at whoſe hands we found ſuch humanity, and ſuch a freedom and
deſire to take ſtrangers, as it were into their boſom, as was enough to
make us forget all that was dear to us in our own Countreys, and con-
tinually we met with many things right worthy of obſervation and rela-
tion: As indeed, if there be a Mirror in the World, worthy to hold mens
eyes, it is that Countrey. One day there were two of our company
bidden to a Feaſt of the Family, as they call it; amoſt natural, pious and
reverend cuſtom it is, ſhewing that Nation to be compounded of all good-
neſs. This is the manner of it. It is granted to any man that ſhall live to
ſee thirty perſons deſcended of his body alivetogether, and all above three
years old, to make this Feaſt, which is done at the coſt of the State. The Father of the Family, whom they call the Tirſan, two days before the
Feaſt taketh to him three of ſuch Friends as he liketh to chuſe, and is
aſſiſted alſo by the Governor of the City or place where the Feaſt is cele-
brated; and all the Perſons of the Family of both Sexes are ſummoned to
attend him. Theſe two days the Tirſan ſitteth in conſultation concern-
ing the good eſtate of the Family; there, if there be any Diſcord or Suits
between any of the Family, they are compounded and appeaſed; there,
if any of the Family be diſtreſſed or decayed, order is taken for their re-
lief and competent means to live; there, if any be ſubject to vice or take
ill courſes, they are reproved and cenſured. So likewiſe, direction is
given touching Marriages, and the courſes of liſe which any of them
ſhould take, with divers other the like orders and advices. The Go-
vernor aſſiſteth to the end, to put in execution by his publick Autho-
tity, the Decrees and Orders of the Tirſan, if they ſhould be diſobeyed,
though that ſeldom needeth; ſuch reverence and obedience they give
to the order of Nature. The Tirſan doth alſo then ever chuſe one man
from amongſt his Sons to live in Houſe with him, who is called ever
after the Son of the Vine; the reaſon will hereafter appear. On the Feaſt-
day, the Tather or Tirſan cometh forth after Divine Service into a large
Room where the Feaſt is celebrated; which Room hath an Half-
pace at the upper end. Againſt the Wall, in the middle of the Half-
pace, is a Chair placed for him, with a Table and Carpet before it: Over the Chair is a State made round or oval, and it is of Ivy; an Ivy
ſome what whiter then ours, like the Leaf of a Silver Aſp, but more ſhi-
ning, for it is Green all Winter. And the State is curiouſly wrought with
S@lver and Silk of divers colours, broiding or binding in the Ivy; and is
ever of the work of ſome of the Daughters of the Family, and veiled


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