Francis Bacon


English Scientist, Author, Philosopher

Author Quotes

The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.

The tears of an heir are laughter under a mask.

The winning of honor is but the revealing of a man’s virtue and worth without disadvantage; for some in their actions do woo and affect honor and reputation; which sort of men are commonly much talked of, but inwardly little admired: and some, contrariwise, darken their virtue in the show of it; so as they be undervalued in opinion. If a man perform that which hath not been attempted before, or attempted and given over, or hath been achieved, but not with so good circumstance, he shall purchase more honor than by affecting a matter of greater difficulty, or virtue, wherein he is but a follower. If a man so temper his actions as in some one of them he doth content every faction or combination of people, the music will be the fuller. A man is an ill husband of his honor that entereth into any action the failing wherein may disgrace him more than the carrying of it through can honor him. Honor that is gained and broken upon another hath the quickest reflection, like diamonds cut with facets; and, therefore, let a man contend to excel any competitors of his in honor, in outshooting them, if he can, in their own bow. Discreet followers and servants help much to reputation: “Omnis fama a domesticis emanat.”

There arises from a bad and inapt formation of words, a wonderful obstruction to the mind.

There is in all excellencies of composition a kind of poverty or a casualty or jeopardy.

There is yet another fault (with which I will conclude this part) which is often noted in learned men, that they do many times fail to observe decency and discretion in their behaviour and carriage, and commit errors in small and ordinary points of action, so as the vulgar sort of capacities do make a judgment of them in greater matters by that which they find wanting in them in smaller. But this consequence doth oft deceive men, for which I do refer them over to that which was said by Themistocles, arrogantly and uncivilly being applied to himself out of his own mouth, but, being applied to the general state of this question, pertinently and justly, when, being invited to touch a lute, he said, “He could not fiddle, but he could make a small town a great state.”

They are the best laws by which the king hath the justest prerogative and the people the best liberty.

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

The lighter sort of malignity turneth but to a crossness or aptness to oppose; but the deeper sort to envy or mere mischief.

The noblest works and foundations have proceeded from childless men, which have sought to express the image of their minds, where those of their bodies have failed. So the care of posterity is most in them that they have no posterity.

The scope or purpose of the Spirit of God is not to express matters of nature in Scripture otherwise than in passage, for application to manÂ’s capacity, and to matters moral and divine.

The tenure in chief is the very root that doth maintain this silver stem, that by many rich and fruitful branches spreadeth itself: so if it be suffered to starve, by want of ablaqueation, and other good husbandry, this yearly fruit will much decrease.

The wisdom of the ancients.

There be also two false peaces, or unities: the one, when the peace is grounded upon an implicit ignorance; for all colors will agree in the dark: the other, when it is pieced up upon a direct admission of contraries in fundamental points: for truth and falsehood in such things are like the iron and clay in the toes of NebuchadnezzarÂ’s image: they may cleave, but they will not incorporate.

There is in human nature generally more of the fool than of the wise.

There never was found in any age of the world, either philosophy, or sect, or religion, or law, or discipline, which did so highly exalt the good of the community, and increase private and particular good as the holy Christian faith.-Hence, it clearly appears that it was one and the same God that gave the Christian law to men, who gave the laws of nature to the creatures.

They are the best physicians, who being great in learning most incline to the traditions of experience, or being distinguished in practice do not reflect the methods and generalities of art.

This is the foundation of all. We are not to imagine or suppose, but to discover, what nature does or may be made to do.

The logic now in use serves rather to fix and give stability to the errors which have their foundation in commonly received notions than to help the search for truth. So it does more harm than good.

The only hope of science is genuine induction.

The scripture saith, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God’:” it is not said, “The fool hath thought in his heart;” so as he rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it: for none deny there is a God, but those for whom it maketh that there were no God.

The things to be seen and observed [in travel] are the courts of princes, especially when they give audience to ambassadors; the courts of justice, while they sit and hear causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic: the churches and monasteries, with the monuments which are therein extant; the walls and fortifications of cities and towns; and so the havens and harbours, antiquities and ruins, libraries, colleges, disputations, and lectures, where any are; shipping and navies; houses and gardens, of state and pleasure, near great cities; armories, arsenals, magazines, exchanges, burses, warehouses, exercises of horsemanship, fencing, training of soldiers, and the like; comedies, such whereunto the better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; cabinets and rarities; and to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the places where they go.

The work and office of these three tables I call the Presentation of Instances to the Understanding. Which presentation having been made, induction itself must be set at work; for the problem is, upon a review of the instances, all and each, to find such a nature as is always present or absent with the given nature, and always increases and decreases with it; and which is, as I have said, a particular case of a more general nature. Now if the mind attempt this affirmatively from the first, as when left to itself it is always wont to do, the result will be fancies and guesses and notions ill defined, and axioms that must be mended every day, unless like the schoolmen we have a mind to fight for what is false; though doubtless these will be better or worse according to the faculties and strength of the understanding which is at work. To God, truly, the Giver and Architect of Forms, and it may be to the angels and higher intelligences, it belongs to have an affirmative knowledge of forms immediately, and from the first contemplation. But this assuredly is more than man can do, to whom it is granted only to proceed at first by negatives, and at last to end in affirmatives after exclusion has been exhausted.

There be none of the passions that have been noted to fascinate or bewitch but love and envy.

There is in man's nature a secret inclination and motion towards love of others, which, if it be not spent upon someone or a few, doth naturally spread itself towards many, and maketh men become humane and charitable, as it is seen sometimes in friars. Nuptial love maketh mankind, friendly love perfecteth it, but wanton love corrupteth and embaseth it.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Birth Date
Death Date

English Scientist, Author, Philosopher