Sunday, 16 December 2012

Bacon's duplex

Francis Bacon talks of the sirens in terms of plague ('the bones of dead men littered the shores of their island ...' and so on). His answer is 'duplex': 'Huic malo remedium repertum est genere & modo duplex; alterum ab Ulyjse, alterum ab Orpheo'. Two ways of remedying this situation have been found: the way of Ulysses, and the way of Orpheus. Either you stop up your ears with wax, hurry past, and hope to escape -- or else (in effect) you out-sing the sirens, beguile them with your song rather than the other way about. I know which way I prefer.

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