The following essay is excerpted from “50 Card Tricks You Can Do from Beyond the Grave, or Lost Writings of Francis Bacon.” A maelstrom of controversy has surrounded the recently published manuscript, which was claimed to have been discovered by a Chicago butcher, Charles Gorgopopolis, within the entrails of a slaughtered pig.
Since Bacon died in 1626, that would make the pig over 375 years old, and there are other hints that the book may be apocryphal. In several of the essays the English philosopher refers to his readers as “youse guys” or “regular Joes,” and he makes frequent mention of the Sears Tower and microwave ovens. Although the ink was still wet when he brought the pages to the publisher, Gorgopopolis swore they were written by Bacon, or Bacon’s wife, or at the very least Shakespeare, or possibly Shakespeare’s wife — but definitely someone wearing a goatee.
Authentic or not, the book provides remarkable insight into a man described by some as “a genius for all time,” and by others (including the pig) as “a real stinker.”
“Love hurteth the heart as a dead mackerel doth offend the nostrils.” Thus spake the Greek general Alcibiades after Socrates had utterly refused his advances for that, as the philosopher saith, “They were not cash advances.” Indeed, for some, love and money are one, although love doth not pay quarterly dividends. Heraclitus hath called love, “That which one cannot step in twice without wiping one’s sandals.” Verily, Heraclitus was an ass.
We may distinguish four varieties of love: the love of parents for their children (when properly seasoned); the love of a boy for his dog; the love between two dogs, a lord chancellor and a bishop in garters; and most wondrous rare, the love between man and wife — so long as it be someone else’s wife. One may also speak of the love between a man and a suit of chain mail, but it would be wise to do so in a whisper if there are others present.
Yea, nor should we confound common love with true love. Common love, or as Chaucer hath writ, “a litel on the side, with bosoms,” is fit only for beasts and advertising account executives. True love, it will be seen, is always signaled by a rash upon the tongue and abdomen, to which diverse ointments may be applied without relief. If a man feel love for a lady, or even for his wife, he will not dip her hairpiece in a blood pudding or break a 16-piece stoneware dining set upon her brow, although when no one else is looking he may slap her lightly about the face and neck with his broadsword, in jest as it were.
Lastly is the love of heaven and things holy. As Dante hath made note in his crippled rhyme:
They first must send candy, or a thank-you card.”
Oft hath it been said in truth, Dante was an imbecile, yet he had beautiful handwriting. For God, like the Marines, is looking for a few good men…better men than Tom Cruise, one can but hope. And the love of God will take all good men on a holy pilgrimage, or perhaps a hayride to Hell — the scriptures are not always clear. But if thou shouldst chance to make pilgrimage to Chicago, and if thou hath a taste for fine porklike killing floor remnants, be sure to pay homage to the Gorgopopolis Sausage Emporium.