Francis Bacon


English Scientist, Author, Philosopher

Author Quotes

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.

There was never proud man thought so absurdly well of himself, as the lover doth of the person loved; and therefore it was well said, That it is impossible to love, and to be wise.

They that reverence too much old times are but a scorn to the new.

Those experiments be not only esteemed which have an immediate and present use, but those principally which are of most universal consequence for invention of other experiments, and those which give more light to the invention of causes; for the invention of the mariner's needle, which giveth the direction, is of no less benefit for navigation than the invention of the sails, which give the motion.

The mold of a man's fortune is in his own hands.

The place of justice is a hallowed place.

The speaking in perpetual hyperbole is comely in nothing but love.

The understanding must not ... be allowed to jump and fly from particulars to axioms remote and of almost the highest generality (such as the first principles, as they are called, of arts and things), and taking stand upon them as truths that cannot be shaken, proceed to prove and frame the middle axioms by reference to them; which has been the practice hitherto, the understanding being not only carried that way by a natural impulse, but also by the use of syllogistic demonstration trained and inured to it. But then, and then only, may we hope well of the sciences when in a just scale of ascent, and by successive steps not interrupted or broken, we rise from particulars to lesser axioms; and then to middle axioms, one above the other; and last of all to the most general. For the lowest axioms differ but slightly from bare experience, while the highest and most general (which we now have) are notional and abstract and without solidity. But the middle are the true and solid and living axioms, on which depend the affairs and fortunes of men; and above them again, last of all, those which are indeed the most general; such, I mean, as are not abstract, but of which those intermediate axioms are really limitations.

There are also Idols formed by the intercourse and association of men with each other, which I call Idols of the Market Place, on account of the commerce and consort of men there. For it is by discourse that men associate, and words are imposed according to the apprehension of the vulgar. And therefore the ill and unfit choice of words wonderfully obstructs the understanding. Nor do the definitions or explanations wherewith in some things learned men are wont to guard and defend themselves, by any means set the matter right. But words plainly force and overrule the understanding, and throw all into confusion, and lead men away into numberless empty controversies and idle fancies.

There have been used, either barbarous words, of no sense, lest they should disturb the imagination; or words of similitude, that they may second and feed the imagination: and this was ever in heathen charms, as in charms of later times.

There is no doubt but men of genius and leisure may carry our method to greater perfection, but, having had long experience, we have found none equal to it for the commodiousness it affords in working with the Understanding.

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English Scientist, Author, Philosopher