Portrait of Bacon by Frans Pourbus (1617),
Palace on the Water in Warsaw
|Born||22 January 1561
Strand, London, England
|Died||9 April 1626 (aged 65)
Highgate, Middlesex, England
|Alma mater||Trinity College, Cambridge
University of Poitiers
|Era||English Renaissance, The Scientific Revolution|
|School||Renaissance Philosophy, Empiricism|
It is a true rule that love is ever rewarded, either with the reciproque or with an inward and secret contempt.
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.
Small amounts of philosophy lead to atheism, but larger amounts bring us back to God.
The desire of excessive power caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge caused men to fall.
He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.
Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses.
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.
Anger is certainly a kind of baseness, as it appears well in the weakness of those subjects in whom it reigns: children, women, old folks, sick folks.
Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.
The genius, wit, and the spirit of a nation are discovered by their proverbs.
Fashion is only the attempt to realize art in living forms and social intercourse.
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.
Fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid.
The correlative to loving our neighbors as ourselves is hating ourselves as we hate our neighbors.
Pictures and shapes are but secondary objects and please or displease only in the memory.
It is in life as it is in ways, the shortest way is commonly the foulest, and surely the fairer way is not much about.
The way of fortune is like the milkyway 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.
The momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or evil.
Houses are built to live in, and not to look on: therefore let use be preferred before uniformity.
This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.
A bachelor's life is a fine breakfast, a flat lunch, and a miserable dinner.
It is as hard and severe a thing to be a true politician as to be truly moral.
There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying.
He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.
Antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time.
A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open.
But men must know, that in this theatre of man's life it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers on.
Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.
Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.
I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.
There is a wisdom in this beyond the rules of physic: a man's own observation what he finds good of and what he finds hurt of is the best physic to preserve health.
People usually think according to their inclinations, speak according to their learning and ingrained opinions, but generally act according to custom.
God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.
Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more a man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.
Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.
Fortune is like the market, where, many times, if you can stay a little, the price will fall.
We are much beholden to Machiavel and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do.
People have discovered that they can fool the devil; but they can't fool the neighbors.
Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried, or childless men.
I do not believe that any man fears to be dead, but only the stroke of death.
Therefore if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible.
Seek ye first the good things of the mind, and the rest will either be supplied or its loss will not be felt.
Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New.
The quarrels and divisions about religion were evils unknown to the heathen. The reason was because the religion of the heathen consisted rather in rites and ceremonies than in any constant belief.
Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.
The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.
In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.
Choose the life that is most useful, and habit will make it the most agreeable.
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.
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.
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.
Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted… but to weigh and consider.
When a man laughs at his troubles he loses a great many friends. They never forgive the loss of their prerogative.
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.
It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other.
They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.
Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; adversity not without many comforts and hopes.
As the births of living creatures are at first ill-shapen, so are all innovations, which are the births of time.
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.
Many a man's strength is in opposition, and when he faileth, he grows out of use.
There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.
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.
For my name and memory I leave to men's charitable speeches, and to foreign nations and the next ages.
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.
If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world.
If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.
God has placed no limits to the exercise of the intellect he has given us, on this side of the grave.
No body can be healthful without exercise, neither natural body nor politic, and certainly, to a kingdom or estate, a just and honourable war is the true exercise.
Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
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.
Fortitude is the marshal of thought, the armor of the will, and the fort of reason.
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.
Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased by tales, so is the other.
Certainly, 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.
Judges must beware of hard constructions and strained inferences, for there is no worse torture than that of laws.
The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding.
A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion.
The pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon.