Francis Bacon


English Scientist, Author, Philosopher

Author Quotes

The Shakespeare-Bacon Theory - analysis of the theory that Shakespeare's plays were actually written by Bacon.

The true composition of a counselor is rather to be skilled in his masters business than his nature; for then he is like to advise him, and not to feed his humor.

The world hath been much abused by the opinion of making gold; the work itself I judge to be possible; but the means (hitherto propounded) to effect it are, in the practice, full of error and imposture.

There be some have an early over-ripeness in their years, which fadeth betimes: these are, first, such as have brittle wits, the edge whereof is soon turned.

There is no affectation in passion; for that putteth a man out of his precepts, and in a new case there custom leaveth him.

There was a soldier that vaunted before Julius Cæsar of the hurts he had received in his face. Cæsar, knowing him to be but a coward, told him, You were best take heed, next time you run away, how you look back.

They live ill, who think to live forever.

This same truth is a naked and open daylight, that does not show the masks and mummeries and triumphs of the world, half so stately and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl that showeth best by day, but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt that if there were taken out of menÂ’s minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves?

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.

The parts and signs of goodness are many. If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them: if he be compassionate towards the afflictions of others, it shows that his heart is like the noble tree that is wounded itself when it gives the balm: if he easily pardons and remits offences, it shows that his mind is planted above injuries, so that he cannot be shot: if he be thankful for small benefits, it shows that he weighs menÂ’s minds, and not their trash: but, above all, if he have St. PaulÂ’s perfection, that he would wish to be an anathema from Christ for the salvation of his brethren, it shows much of a divine nature, and a kind of conformity with Christ himself.

The souls of the living are the beauty of the world.

The truth of being, and the truth of knowing are all one.

The World's a bubble, and the Life of Man less than a span: In his conception wretched, from the womb so to the tomb. Curst from his cradle, and brought up to years with cares and fears. Who then to frail mortality shall trust, But limns the water, or but writes in dust.

There be some whose lives are as if they perpetually played a part upon a stage, disguised to all others, open only to themselves.

There is no art better than to be liberal of praise and commendation to others in that wherein a manÂ’s self hath any perfection.

There was a young man in Rome that was very like Augustus Caesar; Augustus took knowledge of it and sent for the man, and asked him "Was your mother never at Rome?" He answered "No Sir; but my father was."

They that are the first raisers of their houses are most indulgent towards their children, beholding them as the continuances, not only of their kind, but of their work; and so both children and creatures.

This world's a bubble.

The mistaking or misplacing of the last or farthest end of knowledge is the greatest error of all the rest: For men have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity, and inquisitive appetite; sometimes to entertain their minds with variety and delight; sometimes for ornament and reputation; and sometimes to enable them to obtain the victory of wit and contradiction; and most times for lucre and profession;—but seldom sincerely to give a true account of their gift of reason, to the benefit and use of men: As if there were sought in knowledge, a couch whereupon to rest a searching and restless spirit; or a terrace for a wandering and variable 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 fort or commanding ground for strife and contention; or a shop for profit or sale;—and not a rich store-house for the glory of the Creator, and the relief of man’s estate.

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

The Spaniards and Spartans have been noted to be of small despatch. Mi venga la muerte de Spagna - Let my death come from Spain; for then it will be sure to be long a-coming.

The understanding left to itself, in a sober, patient and serious mind (especially if unhindered by received doctrines) tries sometimes to follow the second way, the right one, but does not get far. For the intellect alone, unregulated and unaided, is unequal to the task and quite unfitted to overcome the obscurity of things.

The worst men often give the best advice.

There be three things which make a nation great and prosperous: a fertile soil, busy workshops, easy conveyance for men and goods from place to place.

There is no consumption, unless that which is lost by one body passes into another. Explanation. In nature there is no annihilation; and therefore the thing which is consumed either passes into the air, or is received into some adjacent body.

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English Scientist, Author, Philosopher