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Francis Bacon


(15611626) English philosopher, statesman and writer
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    Francis Bacon
    English philosopher, statesman and writer
    Born:
    January 22, 1561, London
    Education:
    Trinity College, Cambridge
    Died:
    April 9, 1626, near London

    Other Francis Bacon Sites

    Brief biography

    Brief biography from Oregon State

    Biography by William Rawley

    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    The Mystery of Francis Bacon

    Bacon as Shakespeare?

    The Second Cryptographic Shakespeare

    The Francis Bacon Research Trust

    Bacon's Ancestry

    Francis Bacon Links

    Bacon's Home at St. Albans


    Francis Bacon Works

    The Advancement of Learning (1605)
    Novum Organum Preface (1620)
    Novum Organum Aphorisms (1620)
    History of Henry VII (1622)
    Historia Ventorum (1622)
    Historia Vitae et Mortis (1622)
    De Augmentis Scientarum (1623)
    Apothegms (1624)
    Essays (1597-1625)
    Complete Essays (1597-1625)
    the New Atlantis (1627, posthumous)
    The World (1629, posthumous)
    Poems

    Francis Bacon Graphics
    Some have links to larger versions if you click on the graphic.

  • A bachelor's life is a fine breakfast, a flat lunch, and a miserable dinner.
    Francis Bacon

    A good conscience is a continual feast.
    Francis Bacon

    A graceful and pleasing figure is a perpetual letter of recommendation.
    Francis Bacon

    A man must make his opportunity, as oft as find it.
    Francis Bacon

    A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green.
    Francis Bacon

    A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.
    Francis Bacon

    A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open.
    Francis Bacon

    A trust is an obligation of conscience of one to the will of another.
    Francis Bacon

    A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
    Francis Bacon

    Acorns were good until bread was found.
    Francis Bacon

    All colors will agree in the dark.
    Francis Bacon

    All rising to great place is by a winding stair.
    Francis Bacon

    Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.
    Francis Bacon, Certain Apophthegms of Lord Bacon (no. IV)

    Antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time.
    Francis Bacon

    As for the passions and studies of the mind; avoid envy; anxious fears; anger fretting inwards; subtle and knotty inquisitions; joys and exhilarations in excess; sadness not communicated.
    Francis Bacon, Essays, Civil and Moral, XXX, "Of Regiment of Health"

    As the births of living creatures, at first, are ill-shapen: so are all Innovations, which are the births of time.
    Francis Bacon

    Atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man.
    Francis Bacon

    Be not penny-wise. Riches have wings. Sometimes they fly away of themselves, and sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more.
    Francis Bacon

    Be so true to thyself, as thou be not false to others.
    Francis Bacon

    Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the Infinite.
    Francis Bacon

    Boldness is ever blind, for it sees not dangers and inconveniences whence it is bad in council though good in execution.
    Francis Bacon

    Books must follow sciences, and not sciences books.
    Francis Bacon, "Proposition touching Amendment of Laws"

    But the images of men's wits and knowledges remain in books, exempted from the wrong of time, and capable of perpetual renovation.
    Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning (book I, Advantages of Learning)

    By far the best proof is experience.
    Francis Bacon

    By indignities men come to dignities.
    Francis Bacon

    Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried, or childless men.
    Francis Bacon

    Choose the life that is most useful, and habit will make it the most agreeable.
    Francis Bacon

    Come home to men's business and bosoms.
    Francis Bacon, Essays (dedication of 9th Edition)

    Consistency is the foundation of virtue.
    Francis Bacon

    Cure the disease and kill the patient.
    Francis Bacon

    Cure the disease and kill the patient.
    Francis Bacon

    Death is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home.
    Francis Bacon

    Discretion of speech is more than eloquence, and to speak agreeably to him with whom we deal is more than to speak in good words, or in good order.
    Francis Bacon

    Fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid.
    Francis Bacon

    For a crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.
    Francis Bacon

    For all knowledge and wonder (which is the seed of knowledge) is an impression of pleasure in itself.
    Francis Bacon

    For cleanness of body was ever esteemed to proceed from a due reverence to God, to society, and to ourselves.
    Francis Bacon

    For it is esteemed a kind of dishonour unto learning to descend to inquiry or meditation upon matters mechanical, except they be such as may be thought secrets, rarities, and special subtilities, which humour of vain supercilious arrogancy is justly derided in Plato... But the truth is, they be not the highest instances that give the securest information; as may well be expressed in the tale ... of the philosopher, that while he gazed upwards to the stars fell into the water; for if he had looked down he might have seen the stars in the water, but looking aloft he could not see the water in the stars. So it cometh often to pass, that mean and small things discover great, better than great can discover the small.
    Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, pages 71-72. (1973)

    For it is not possible to join serpentine wisdom with columbine innocence, except men know exactly all the conditions of the serpent: his baseness and going upon his belly, his volubility and lubricity, his envy and sting, and the rest; that is, all forms and natures of evil: for without this, virtue lieth open and unfenced.
    Francis Bacon

    For my name and memory I leave to men's charitable speeches, and to foreign nations and the next ages.
    Francis Bacon

    Fortune hath somewhat the nature of a woman; if she be too much wooed, she is the farther off.
    Francis Bacon

    Fortune is like the market, where, many times, if you can stay a little, the price will fall.
    Francis Bacon

    God almighty first planted a garden: and, indeed, it is the purest of human pleasure.
    Francis Bacon

    God hangs the greatest weights upon the smallest wires.
    Francis Bacon

    God has placed no limits to the exercise of the intellect he has given us, on this side of the grave.
    Francis Bacon

    God's first creature, which was light.
    Francis Bacon

    Good fame is like fire; when you have kindled you may easily preserve it; but if you extinguish it, you will not easily kindle it again.
    Francis Bacon

    He of whom many are afraid ought to fear many.
    Francis Bacon

    He that gives good advice, builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example, builds with both; but he that gives good admonition and bad example, builds with one hand and pulls down with the other.
    Francis Bacon

    He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.
    Francis Bacon

    He that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils: for Time is the greatest innovator: and if Time, of course, alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?
    Francis Bacon

    Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.
    Francis Bacon

    Hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper.
    Francis Bacon

    Houses are built to live in, and not to look on: therefore let use be preferred before uniformity.
    Francis Bacon, Essays, "Of Building" (1623)

    I do not believe that any man fears to be dead, but only the stroke of death.
    Francis Bacon

    I had rather believe all the Fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a Mind.
    Francis Bacon

    I have taken all knowledge to be my province.
    Francis Bacon

    I hold every man a debtor to his profession.
    Francis Bacon

    I think of life as meaningless, but we give it meaning during our own existence.
    Francis Bacon

    I would live to study, and not study to live.
    Francis Bacon

    If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world.
    Francis Bacon

    If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties. (1605)
    Francis Bacon

    If money be not they servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be said to possess wealth, as that may be said to possess him.
    Francis Bacon
    see
    Italian proverb

    If we begin with certainties, we shall end in doubts; but if we begin with doubts, and are patient in them, we shall end in certainties.
    Francis Bacon (1605)

    If we do not maintain Justice, Justice will not maintain us.
    Francis Bacon

    Ill Fortune never crushed that man whom good fortune deceived not.
    Francis Bacon

    Imagination was given man to compensate for what he is not, and a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
    Francis Bacon

    In charity there is no excess.
    Francis Bacon

    In every great time there is some one idea at work which is more powerful than any other, and which shapes the events of the time and determines their ultimate issues.
    Francis Bacon

    In taking revenge a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior, for it is a prince's part to pardon.
    Francis Bacon, Essays (1625)

    In things that a man would not be seen in himself, it is a point of cunning to borrow the name of the world; as to say, "The world says," or "There is a speech abroad."
    Francis Bacon, Essays, "Of Cunning" (1623)

    [It has been well said that] the arch-flatterer with whom all the petty flatterers have intelligence is a man's self.
    Francis Bacon, quoted in Essays

    It is a miserable state of mind to have few things to desire and many things to fear.
    Francis Bacon

    It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tost upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to standing upon the vantage ground of truth ... and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below.
    Francis Bacon

    It is a strange desire, to seek power, and to lose liberty; or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man's self.
    Francis Bacon

    It is as hard and severe a thing to be a true politician as to be truly moral.
    Francis Bacon

    It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other.
    Francis Bacon

    It is the true office of history to represent the events themselves, together with the counsels, and to leave the observations and conclusions thereupon to the liberty and faculty of every man's judgment.
    Francis Bacon

    It was prettily devised of Aesop, "The fly sat on the axle tree of the chariot wheel and said, what dust do I raise!"
    Francis Bacon

    Judges must beware of hard constructions and strained inferences, for there is no worse torture than that of laws.
    Francis Bacon

    Judges ought to be more leaned than witty, more reverent than plausible, and more advised than confident. Above all things, integrity is their portion and proper virtue.
    Francis Bacon

    Knowledge is power.
    Latin: Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
    Francis Bacon: 12 Meditationes Sacrae De Haeresibus.

    Lies are sufficient to breed opinion, and opinion brings on substance.
    Francis Bacon

    Life, an age to the miserable, and a moment to the happy.
    Francis Bacon
    see
    Publilius Syrus and Albert Einstein

    Little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth. For a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.
    Francis Bacon

    Look to make your course regular, that men may know beforehand what they may expect.
    Francis Bacon

    Mahomet made the people believe that he would call a hill to him, and from the top of it offer up his prayers for the observers of his law. The people assembled. Mahomet called the hill to come to him, again and again; and when the hill stood still he was never a whit abashed, but said, "If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill."
    Francis Bacon, "Of Boldness"

    Man seeketh in society comfort, use and protection.
    Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning (1605)

    Many a man's strength is in opposition, and when he faileth, he grows out of use.
    Francis Bacon

    Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.
    Francis Bacon

    Men in great place are thrice servants, servants of the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business.
    Francis Bacon, "Of Great Place"

    Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success.
    Francis Bacon, Essay XLII, "Of Youth and Age"

    Men on their side must force themselves for a while to lay their notions by and begin to familiarize themselves with facts.
    Francis Bacon

    Money is like muck, not good except it be spread.
    Francis Bacon

    Mysteries are due to secrecy.
    Francis Bacon

    Nakedness is uncomely, as well in mind as body, and it addeth no small reverence to men's manners and actions if they be not altogether open. Therefore set it down: That a habit of secrecy is both politic and moral.
    Francis Bacon

    Natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience.
    Francis Bacon

    Nature is commanded by obeying her.
    Francis Bacon

    Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished.
    Francis Bacon

    Next to religion, let your care be to promote justice.
    Francis Bacon

    No man's fortune can be an end worthy of his being.
    Francis Bacon

    No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage-ground of truth.
    Francis Bacon, "Of Truth"

    None of the affections have been noted to fascinate and bewitch but envy.
    Francis Bacon

    Nothing destroys authority more than the unequal and untimely interchange of power stretched too far and relaxed too much.
    Francis Bacon

    Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.
    Francis Bacon

    Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety.
    Francis Bacon

    Nuptial love makes mankind; friendly love perfects it; but wanton love corrupts and debases it.
    Francis Bacon

    Of great wealth there is no real use, except in its distribution, the rest is just conceit.
    Francis Bacon

    Opportunity makes a thief.
    Francis Bacon

    Our humanity is a poor thing, except for the divinity that stirs within us.
    Francis Bacon

    People of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon and seldom drive business home to its conclusion, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success.
    Francis Bacon

    People of great position are servants times three, servants of their country, servants of fame, and servants of business.
    Francis Bacon

    People usually think according to their inclinations, speak according to their learning and ingrained opinions, but generally act according to custom.
    Francis Bacon

    Pictures and shapes are but secondary objects and please or displease only in the memory.
    Francis Bacon

    Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; adversity not without many comforts and hopes.
    Francis Bacon

    Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New.
    Francis Bacon

    Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.
    Francis Bacon

    Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.
    Francis Bacon

    Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more a man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.
    Francis Bacon

    Riches are for spending.
    Francis Bacon

    Seek ye first the good things of the mind, and the rest will either be supplied or its loss will not be felt.
    Francis Bacon

    Silence is the virtue of fools.
    Francis Bacon

    Small amounts of philosophy lead to atheism, but larger amounts bring us back to God.
    Francis Bacon

    Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
    Francis Bacon, Essay, "Of Studies"

    States as great engines move slowly.
    Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning, Book ii (1605)

    Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner.
    Francis Bacon

    Suspicion amongst thoughts are like bats amongst birds, they never fly by twilight.
    Francis Bacon

    Suspicions that the mind, of itself, gathers, are but buzzes; but suspicions that are artificially nourished and put into men's heads by the tales and whisperings of others, have stings.
    Francis Bacon

    That things are changed, and that nothing really perishes, and that the sum of matter remains exactly the same, is sufficiently certain.
    Francis Bacon

    The best armor is to keep out of gunshot.
    Francis Bacon

    The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.
    Francis Bacon

    The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it.
    Francis Bacon, Essay, "On Goodness"

    The fortune which nobody sees makes a person happy and unenvied.
    Francis Bacon

    The French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are.
    Francis Bacon

    The genius, wit, and the spirit of a nation are discovered by their proverbs.
    Francis Bacon

    The great advantages of simulation and dissimulation are three. First to lay asleep opposition and to surprise. For where a man's intentions are published, it is an alarum to call up all that are against them. The second is to reserve a man's self a fair retreat: for if a man engage himself, by a manifest declaration, he must go through, or take a fall. The third is, the better to discover the mind of another. For to him that opens himself, men will hardly show themselves adverse; but will fair let him go on, and turn their freedom of speech to freedom of thought.
    Francis Bacon

    The joys of parents are secret, and so are their grieves and fears.
    Francis Bacon

    The laws of the most kingdoms and states have been like buildings of many pieces, and patched up from time to time according to occasion, without frame or model. ... This continual heaping up of laws without digesting them maketh but a chaos and confusion, and turneth the laws many times to become but snares for the people. ... Then look into the state of your laws and justice of your land: purge out multiplicity of laws: clear the incertainty of them: repeal those that are snaring; and press the execution of those that are wholesome and necessary ...
    Francis Bacon

    The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes the middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own. Not unlike this is the true business of philosophy (science); for it neither relies solely or chiefly on the powers of the mind, nor does it take the matter which it gathers from natural history and mechanical experiments and lay up in the memory whole, as it finds it, but lays it up in the understanding altered and disgested. Therefore, from a closer and purer league between these two faculties, the experimental and the rational (such as has never been made), much may be hoped.
    Francis Bacon, Novum Organum

    The monuments of wit survive the monuments of power.
    Francis Bacon

    The mould of a man's fortune is in his own hands.
    Francis Bacon

    The pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon.
    Francis Bacon

    The person is a poor judge who by an action can be disgraced more in failing than they can be honored in succeeding.
    Francis Bacon

    The place of justice is a hallowed place.
    Francis Bacon

    The poets did well to conjoin music and medicine, because the office of medicine is but to tune the curious harp of man's body.
    Francis Bacon

    The remedy is worse than the disease.
    Francis Bacon, "Of Seditions"
    see
    Publius Syrus

    The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding.
    Francis Bacon

    The wisdom of our ancestors.
    Francis Bacon

    The World's a bubble, and the Life of Man Less than a span.
    Francis Bacon, "The World"

    The worst solitude is to have no real friendships.
    Francis Bacon

    There is a difference between happiness and wisdom: he that thinks himself the happiest man is really so; but he that thinks himself the wisest is generally the greatest fool.
    Francis Bacon

    There is as much difference between the counsel that a friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend and of a flatterer. For there is no such flatterer as is a man's self.
    Francis Bacon

    There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.
    Francis Bacon, "Of Beauty"

    There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little.
    Francis Bacon

    They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.
    Francis Bacon

    They that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils.
    Francis Bacon

    This communicating of a man's self to his friend works two contrary effects for it redoubleth joy, and cutteth griefs in half.
    Francis Bacon

    This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.
    Francis Bacon

    Time is the measure of business.
    Francis Bacon

    To be free minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of meat and sleep and of exercise is one of the best precepts of long lasting.
    Francis Bacon, Essays, Civil and Moral, XXX, "Of Regiment of Health"

    To choose time is to save time.
    Francis Bacon

    Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience. He that travelleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel.
    Francis Bacon, "Of Travel"

    Truth arises more readily from error than from confusion.
    Francis Bacon

    Truth is a good dog; but always beware of barking too close to the heels of an error, lest you get your brains kicked out.
    Francis Bacon

    Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority.
    Francis Bacon

    Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set.
    Francis Bacon, "Of Beauty"

    We are much beholden to Machiavel and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do.
    Francis Bacon

    What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.
    Francis Bacon

       What then remains but that we still should cry
    For being born, and, being born, to die?
    Francis Bacon, paraphrase of a Greek epigram, in "The World"

    Who ever is out of patience is out of possession of their soul.
    Francis Bacon

    Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.
    Francis Bacon

       Who then to frail mortality shall trust
    But limns on water, or but writes in dust.
    Francis Bacon, "The World"

    Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.
    Francis Bacon

    Without friends the world is but a wilderness. There is no man that imparteth his joys to his friends, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his grieves to his friend, but he grieveth the less.
    Francis Bacon

    Wives are young men's mistresses; companions for middle age, and old men's nurses.
    Francis Bacon, "Of Marriage and Single Life"

    Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.
    Francis Bacon

    Young people are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and more fit for new projects than for settled business.
    Francis Bacon, "Of Youth and Age"


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