BACON, Francis Quotes
(1561-1626), English statesman, philosopher, and essayist
It is good discretion not to make too much of any man at the first; because one cannot hold out that proportion.
Good thoughts, though God accept them, yet toward men are little better than good dreams except they be put in action.
Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction and the dearer revelation of God's favor. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; adversity not without many comforts and hopes.
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.
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.
Alchemy may be compared to the man who told his sons of gold buried somewhere in his vineyard, where they by digging found no gold, but by turning up the mould about the roots of their vines, procured a plentiful vintage. So the search and endeavors to make gold have brought many useful inventions and instructive experiments to light.
Nor do apothegms only serve for ornament and delight, but also for action and civil use, as being the edge tools of speech, which cut and penetrate the knots of business and affairs.
Praise from the common people is generally false, and rather follows the vain than the virtuous.
Houses are built to live in, more than to look on; therefore let use be preferred before uniformity, except where both may be had.
The best armor is to keep out of gunshot.
Atheism is rather in the life than in the heart of man.
A little philosophy inclineth men's minds to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further.—But when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.
God never wrought miracles to convince atheism, because His ordinary works convince it.
Bashfulness is a great hindrance to a man, both in uttering his sentiments and in understanding what is proposed to him; it is therefore good to press forward with discretion, both in discourse and company of the better sort.
The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.
Beauty is as summer fruits, which are easy to corrupt and cannot last; and for the most part it makes a dissolute youth, and an age a little out of countenance; but if it light well, it makes virtues shine and vice blush.
There never was found, in any age of the world, either religion or law that did so highly exalt the public good as the Bible.
Blushing is the livery of virtue, though it may sometimes proceed from guilt.
Boldness is ever blind, for it sees not dangers and inconveniences; whence it is bad in council though good in execution.—The right use of the bold, therefore, is, that they never command in chief, but serve as seconds under the direction of others.—For in council it is good to see dangers, and in execution not to see them unless they be very great.
Some books are to be tasted; others swallowed; and some few to be chewed and digested.
He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils.
To be free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of meals, and of sleep, and of exercise, is one of the best precepts of long-lasting.
Children sweeten labors, but they make misfortunes more bitter.—They increase the cares of life, but they mitigate the remembrance of death.
There was never law, or sect, or opinion did so much magnify goodness, as the Christian religion doth.
Cleanliness of body was ever esteemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.
It is good discretion not to make too much of any man at the first, because one cannot hold out in that proportion.
The kingdom of Israel was first rent and broken by ill counsel; upon which there are set, for our instruction, the two marks whereby bad counsel is ever best discerned—that it was young counsel for the persons, and violent counsel for the matter.
If money be not thy 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.
We take cunning for a sinister or crooked wisdom, and certainly there is a great difference between a cunning man and a wise man, not only in point of honesty, but in point of ability.
Men commonly think according to their inclinations, speak according to their learning and imbibed opinions, but generally act according to custom.
It is as natural to man to die, as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps the one is as painful as the other.
Discretion in speech, is more than eloquence.
True dispatch is a rich thing, for time is the measure of business, as money is of wares; and business is bought at a dear hand where there is small dispatch.
Measure not dispatch by the times of sitting, but by the advancement of business.
To choose time is to save time.—There be three parts of business—the preparation, the debate or examination, and the perfection; whereof if you look for dispatch let the middle only be the work of many and the first and last the work of few.
Dissimulation is but a faint kind of policy or wisdom, for it asketh a strong wit and a strong heart to know when to tell the truth, and to do it: therefore it is the weaker of politicians that are the greatest dissemblers.
In contemplation, if a man begins with certainties he shall end in doubts; but if he be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.
All the armies on earth do not destroy so many of the human race, nor alienate so much property, as drunkenness.
When the soul resolves to perform every duty, immediately it is conscious of the presence of God.
A man's ordinary expenses ought to be but to the half of his receipts, and if he think to wax rich, but to the third part.
A man that hath no virtue in himself ever envieth virtue in others; for men's minds will either feed upon their own good, or upon others' evil; and who wanteth the one will prey upon the other; and whoso is out of hope to attain to another's virtue, will seek to come at even hand by depressing another's fortune.
Men of noble birth are noted to be envious toward new men when they rise; for the distance is altered; it is like a deceit of the eye, that when others come on they think themselves go back.
The desire of power in excess caused angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity is no excess, neither can man or angels come into danger by it.
Riches are for spending, and spending for honor and good actions; therefore extraordinary expense must be limited by the worth of the occasion.
A beautiful face is a silent commendation.
There never was found in any age of the world, either philosopher or sect, or law, or discipline which did so highly exalt the public good as the Christian faith.
Round dealing is the honor of man's nature; and a mixture of falsehood is like alloy in gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it.
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.
If I might control the literature of the household, I would guarantee the well-being of the church and state.
It has well been said that the arch-flatterer, with whom all petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man's self.
It cannot be denied that outward accents conduce much to fortune; favor, opportunity, death of others, occasion fitting virtue: but chiefly, the mold of a man's fortuue is in his own hands.
The way of fortune is like the milky-way in the sky; which is a number of small stars, not seen asunder, but giving light together: so it is a number of little and scarce discerned virtues, or rather faculties and customs, that make men fortunate.
Those friends are weak and worthless, that will not use the privilege of friendship in admonishing their friends with freedom and confidence, as well of their errors as of their danger.
They that deny a God, destroy man's nobility; for clearly man is of kin to the beasts by his body, and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature.
I had rather believe all the fables in the Talmud and the Koran, than that this universal frame is without a mind.
When the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further. But when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate and linked together, it must fly to Providence and Deity.
We cannot too often think, that there is a never sleeping eye that reads the heart, and registers our thoughts.
There never was law, or sect, or opinion did so much magnify goodness as the Christian religion doth.
Of all virtues and dignities of the mind, goodness is the greatest, being the character of the Deity; and without it, man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing.
When any of the four pillars of government, religion, justice, counsel, and treasure, are mainly shaken or weakened, men had need to pray for fair weather.
A graceful and pleasing figure is a perpetual letter of recommendation.
Men in great place are thrice servants; servants of the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business; so that they have no freedom, neither in their persons, in their actions, nor in their times.—It is a strange desire to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man's self.
Habit, if wisely and skillfully formed, becomes truly a second nature; but unskillfully and unmethodically directed, it will be as it were the ape of nature, which imitates nothing to the life, but only clumsily and awkwardly.
All our actions take their hue from the complexion of the heart, as landscapes their variety from light.
It is heaven upon earth to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.
Out of monuments, names, words, proverbs, traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of books, and the like, we do save and recover somewhat from the deluge of time.
Hope is the most beneficial of all the affections, and doth much to the prolongation of life, if it be not too often frustrated; but entertaineth the fancy with an expectation of good.
If a man be gracious to strangers, it shows that he is a citizen of the world, and his heart is no island, cut off from other islands, but a continent that joins them.
Houses are built to live in, more than to look at; therefore let use be preferred before uniformity, except where both may he had.
A man's nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one and destroy the other.
Our humanity were a poor thing but for the divinity that stirs within us.
A man's nature is best perceived in privateness, for there is no affectation; in passion, for that putteth a man out of his precepts; and in a new case or experiment, for there custom leaveth him.
A bad man is worse when he pretends to be a saint.
Much bending breaks the bow; much unbending the mind.
Whoever is out of patience is out of possession of his soul.—Men must not turn bees, and kill themselves in stinging others.
Learning teaches how to carry things in suspense without prejudice till you resolve.
They that deny God destroy a man's nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body, and if he is not akin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature.
Who taught the parrot his "Welcome"? Who taught the raven in a drought to throw pebbles into a hollow tree where she espied water, that the water might rise so as she might come to it? Who taught the bee to sail through such a vast sea of air, and to find the way from a flower in a field to her hive? Who taught, the ant to bite every grain of corn that she burieth in her hill, lest it should take root and grow?
God has placed no limits to the exercise of the intellect he has given us, on this side of the grave.
Men ought to find the difference between saltness and bitterness. Certainly, he that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others' memory.
Judges ought to be more learned than witty, more reverent than plausible, and more advised than confident. Above all things, integrity is their portion and proper virtue.
All precepts concerning kings are comprehended in these: remember thou art a man; remember thou art God's vicegerent.
Knowledge is not a couch whereon to rest a searching and restless spirit; or a terrace for a wandering mind to walk up and down with a fair prospect; or a tower of state for a proud mind to raise itself upon; or a sort of commanding ground for strife and contention; or a shop for profit and sale; but a rich storehouse for the glory of the Creator, and the relief of man's estate.
The pleasure and delight of knowledge far surpasseth all other in nature. We see in all other pleasures there is satiety; and after they be used, their verdure departeth, which showeth well that they be but deceits of pleasure, and not pleasures; and that it was the novelty which pleased, not the quality; and therefore we see that voluptuous men turn friars, and ambitious princes turn melancholy. But of knowledge there is no satiety, but satisfaction and appetite are perpetually interchangeable.
Reading maketh a full man; conference, a ready man: histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral philosophy, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.
Knowledge may not be as a courtesan, for pleasure and vanity only; or as a bondswoman, to acquire and gain for her master's use; but as a spouse, for generation, fruit, and comfort.
There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little; and, therefore, men should remedy suspicion by procuring to know more, and not keep their suspicions in smother.
It is in knowledge as it is in plants; if you mean to use the plant, it is no matter for the roots; if you mean it to grow, it is safer to rest upon roots than upon slips.
Some men think that the gratification of curiosity is the end of knowledge; some the love of fame; some the pleasure of dispute; some the necessity of supporting themselves by their knowledge; but the real use of all knowledge is this, that we should dedicate that reason which was given us by God to the use and advantage of man.
They are the best laws, by which the king has the greatest prerogative, and the people the best liberty.
Without controversy, learning doth make the mind of men gentle, generous, amiable, and pliant to government; whereas ignorance makes them churlish, thwarting, and mutinous; and the evidence of time doth clear this assertion, considering that the most barbarous, rude, and unlearned times have been most subject to tumults, seditions, and changes.
Learning teaches how to carry things in suspense, without prejudice, till you resolve.
There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be discovered in a lie; for as Montaigne saith, "A liar would be brave toward God, while he is a coward toward men; for a lie faces God, and shrinks from man."
Libraries are as the shrines where all the relics of saints, full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed.
The first creation of God, in the works of the days, was the light of sense; the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath work, ever since, is the illumination of the spirit.
If I might control the literature of the household, I would guarantee the well-being of the church and state.
Logic and rhetoric make men able to contend.—Logic differeth from rhetoric as the fist from the palm; the one close, the other at large.
Nuptial love maketh mankind; friendly love perfecteth it; but wanton love corrupteth and embaseth it.
There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame, as to be discovered in a lie; for, as Montaigne saith—"A liar would be brave toward God, while he is a coward toward men; for a lie faces God, and shrinks from man."
They that deny a God, destroy man's nobility, for man is of kin to the beasts by his body, and if he is not of kin to God by his spirit he is an ignoble creature.
He that hath wife and children, hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity.
A man finds himself seven years older the day after his marriage.
Pure mathematics do remedy and cure many defects in the wit and faculties of individuals; for if the wit be dull, they sharpen it; _ if too wandering they fix it; if too inherent in the sense, they abstract it.
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.
He who cannot contract the sight of his mind, as well as dilate it, wants a great talent in life.
Men possessing minds which are morose, solemn, and inflexible, enjoy, in general, a greater share of dignity than happiness.
I knew a wise man who had for a byword, when he saw men hasten to a conclusion, "stay a little, that we may come to the end sooner."
Money is like manure, of very little use except it be spread.
Men possessing minds which are morose, solemn, and inflexible, enjoy, in general, a greater share of dignity than of happiness.
In the youth of a state, arms do flourish; in the middle age, learning; and then both of them together for a time; in the declining age, mechanical arts and merchandise.
Nature is commanded by obeying her.
He that follows nature is never out of his way. Nature is sometimes subdued, but seldom extinguished.
In nature things move violently to their place, and calmly in their place.
We cannot too often think there is a never-sleeping eye, which reads the heart, and registers our thoughts.
To choose time is to save time; and an unseasonable motion is but beating the air.
A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
The illiberality of parents, in allowance toward their children, is a harmful error, and makes them base; acquaints them with shirts; makes them sort with mean company; and makes them surfeit more when they come to plenty; and therefore the proof is best when men keep their authority toward their children, but not their purse.
Great effects come of industry and perseverance; for audacity doth almost bind and mate the weaker sort of minds.
Philosophy, when superficially studied, excites doubt; when thoroughly explored, it dispels it.
Physic is of little use to a temperate person, for a man's own observation on what he finds does him good, and what hurts him, is the best physic to preserve health.
It is a point of cunning to wait upon him with whom you speak with your eye, as the Jesuits give it in precept; for there be many wise men that have secret hearts and transparent countenances.
Nothing destroys authority so much as the unequal and untimely interchange of power, pressed too far and relaxed too much.
The virtue of prosperity is temperance, but the virtue of adversity is fortitude; and the last is the more sublime attainment.
The genius, wit, and spirit of a nation are discovered in its proverbs.
God hangs the greatest weights upon the smallest wires.
Reading serves for delight, for ornament, for ability.—The crafty contemn it; the simple admire it; the wise use it.
Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.
Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
There never was law, or sect, or opinion did so magnify goodness as the Christian religion doth.
My name and memory I leave to men's charitable speeches, to foreign nations, and to the next age.
By taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing over it, he is superior.
He that studieth revenge keepeth his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.
In revenge a man is but even with his enemies; but it is a princely thing to pardon, for Solomon saith, "It is the glory of a man to pass over a transgression."
Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which, the more a man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.
The surest way to prevent seditions is to take away the matter of them; for if there be fuel prepared, it is hard to tell whence the spark shall come that shall set it on fire.
I cannot call riches by a better name than the "baggage" of virtue; the Roman word is better, "impediment." For as the baggage is to an army, so are riches to virtue. It cannot be spared or left behind, and yet it hindereth the march; yea, and the care of it sometimes loseth or disturbeth the victory. Of great riches there is no real use, except in the distribution; the rest is but conceit.
Believe not much them that seem to despise riches, for they despise them who despair of them; and none are worse than they when riches come to them.
Be not penny-wise; riches have wings; sometimes they fly away of themselves, and sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more.
He that cometh to seek after knowledge with a mind to scorn and censure shall be sure to find matter for his humor, but none for his instruction.
Talkers and futile persons, are commonly vain and credulous withal; for he that talketh what he knoweth will also talk what he knoweth not; therefore set it down, that a habit of secrecy is both politic and moral.
Men seem neither to understand their riches nor their strength.—Of the former they believe greater things than they should; of the latter, less.
The reverence of man's self, is, nest to religion, the chiefest bridle of all vices.
Talkers and futile persons are commonly vain and credulous withal, for he that talketh what he knoweth will also talk what he knoweth not; therefore set it down that a habit of secrecy is both politic and moral.
It had been hard to have put more truth and untruth together in a few words than in that speech, "Whosoever is delighted with solitude is either a wild beast or a god."
It was justly said by Themistocles that speech is like tapestry unfolded, where the imagery appears distinct; but thoughts, like tapestry in the bale, where the figures are rolled up together.
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.
Men in great places are thrice servants: servants of the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business; so as they have no freedom, neither in their persons, in their actions, or in their times.
Studies teach not their own use; that is a wisdom without them and above them, won by observation.
Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament is in discourse; and ability is in the judgment and disposition of business. For expert men can execute, and, perhaps, judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels and the plots and marshalling of affairs come best from those that are learned.
There is a superstition in avoiding superstition, when men think they do best if they go farthest from the superstition,—by which means they often take away the good as well as the bad.
As it addeth deformity to an ape to be so like a man, so the similitude of superstition to religion makes it the more deformed.
The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools.
There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little, and therefore men should remedy suspicion by procuring to know more, and not keep their suspicions in smother.
Suspicions amongst thoughts are like the bats amongst birds, they ever fly by twilight: certainly they are to be repressed, or at least well guarded, for they cloud the mind, lose friends, check business, dispose kings to tyranny, husbands to jealousy, and wise men to irresolution and melancholy; they are defects, not in the heart, but in the brain.
Physic is of little use to a temperate person, for a man's own observation on what he finds does him good, and what hurts him, is the best physic to preserve health.
A man would do well to carry a pencil in his pocket, and write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable, and should be secured, because they seldom return.
Time is the measure of business as money is of wares; and business is bought at a dear hand where there is small despatch. The Spartans and Spaniards have been noted to be of small despatch, and hence the maxim, "Let my death come from Spain"; for then it will be long in coming.
A man that is young in years may be old in hours, if he has lost no time.
To choose time is to save time.
There are three parts in truth: first, the inquiry, which is the wooing of it; secondly, the knowledge of it, which is the presence of it; and thirdly, the belief, which is the enjoyment of it.
The eye of the understanding is like the eye of the sense; for as you may see great objects through small crannies or holes, so you may see great axioms of nature through small and contemptible instances.
Vain-glorious men are the scorn of the wise, the admiration of fools, the idols of parasites, and the slaves of their own vaunts.
Some intermixture of vain-glorious tempers puts life into business, and makes a fit composition in grand enterprises and hazardous undertakings. For men of solid and sober natures have more of the ballast than the sail.
It is said of untrue valors, that some men's valors are in the eyes of them that look on.
It was prettily devised of Aesop that the fly sat upon the axletree of the chariot-wheel, and said, "What a dust do I raise!" So are there some vain persons that, whatsoever goeth alone or moveth upon greater means, if they have never so little hand in it, they think it is they that carry it.
Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety.
Certainly, virtue is like precious odors, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.
I am of opinion that, unless you could bray Christianity in a mortar, and mould it into a new paste, there is no possibility of a holy war.
Seek not proud wealth; but such as thou mayest get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly, yet have not any abstract or friarly contempt of it.
He that defers his charity until he is dead is, if a man weighs it rightly, rather liberal of another man's goods than his own.
Wisdom for a man's self is, in many branches thereof, a depraved thing; it is the wisdom of rats, that will be sure to leave a house some time before it fall; it is the wisdom of the fox, that thrusts out the badger who digged and made room for him; it is the wisdom of the crocodiles, that shed tears when they would devour.
Men's thoughts are much according to their inclination.
Men suppose their reason has command over their words; still it happens that words in return exercise authority on reason.