Sir Nicholas Bacon


In Francis Bacon's Apothegms, first published in 1650, is the following story:

"A culprit on trial for his life before the Judge, Sir Nicholas Bacon, desired his mercy on account of kinship. 'Prithee' said my Lord Judge, ' how comes that in?' 'Why, if it please you, my Lord, your name is Bacon and mine Hog, and in all ages Hog and Bacon have been so near kindred that they are not to be separated.' 'Ay but,' replied Sir Nicholas, 'you and I cannot be kindred except you be hanged, for Hog is not Bacon until it be well hanged.'

Is it a coincidence that, in the play "The Merry Wives of Windsor," we find the line "Hang hog is Latin for Bacon I warrant you." This is clearly a reference to the above incident, which did not appear in print until forty-eight years after the play was written.
The scene in this play in which the above sentence appears is a new scene found for the first time in the First Folio of 1623, published seven years after Will Shaksper's death, and does not appear in the first quarto of the play published in Shaksper's lifetime.


return to the directory - Sir Francis Bacon's New Advancement of Learning