Francis Bacon Quotes

Home / Philosopher / Francis Bacon Quotes
Francis Bacon

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
Nationality English
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
University of Poitiers
Era English Renaissance, The Scientific Revolution
Region Western philosophy
School Renaissance Philosophy, Empiricism
Main interests
Natural philosophy
Philosophical logic

It is a true rule that love is ever rewarded, either with the reciproque or with an inward and secret contempt.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
Small amounts of philosophy lead to atheism, but larger amounts bring us back to God.
Francis Bacon
The desire of excessive power caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge caused men to fall.
Francis Bacon
Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.
Wise men make more opportunities than they find.
He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.
Francis Bacon
Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses.
Francis Bacon
The worst solitude is to have no real friendships.
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.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.
Francis Bacon
A man must make his opportunity, as oft as find it.
The genius, wit, and the spirit of a nation are discovered by their proverbs.
Francis Bacon
Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished.
Fashion is only the attempt to realize art in living forms and social intercourse.
Francis Bacon
Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.
The great end of life is not knowledge but action.
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.
Francis Bacon
Next to religion, let your care be to promote justice.
Fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid.
Francis Bacon
The correlative to loving our neighbors as ourselves is hating ourselves as we hate our neighbors.
Francis Bacon
Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.
Lies are sufficient to breed opinion, and opinion brings on substance.
Pictures and shapes are but secondary objects and please or displease only in the memory.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
The momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or evil.
Francis Bacon
Houses are built to live in, and not to look on: therefore let use be preferred before uniformity.
Francis Bacon
Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.
This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.
Francis Bacon
A bachelor's life is a fine breakfast, a flat lunch, and a miserable dinner.
Francis Bacon
It is as hard and severe a thing to be a true politician as to be truly moral.
Francis Bacon
There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying.
Francis Bacon
He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.
Francis Bacon
It is natural to die as to be born.
Antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time.
Francis Bacon
A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open.
Francis Bacon
But men must know, that in this theatre of man's life it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers on.
Francis Bacon
If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.
Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.
Francis Bacon
In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.
Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety.
It is impossible to love and to be wise.
Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.
Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.
Francis Bacon
Studies perfect nature and are perfected still by experience.
Friends are thieves of time.
I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.
Francis Bacon
Rebellions of the belly are the worst.
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.
Francis Bacon
Life, an age to the miserable, and a moment to the happy.
Children sweeten labours, but they make misfortunes more bitter.
The joys of parents are secret, and so are their grieves and fears.
People usually think according to their inclinations, speak according to their learning and ingrained opinions, but generally act according to custom.
Francis Bacon
God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.
Francis Bacon
Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more a man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.
Francis Bacon
Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set.
Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.
Francis Bacon
The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.
Fortune is like the market, where, many times, if you can stay a little, the price will fall.
Francis Bacon
We are much beholden to Machiavel and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do.
Francis Bacon
People have discovered that they can fool the devil; but they can't fool the neighbors.
Francis Bacon
Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried, or childless men.
Francis Bacon
The fortune which nobody sees makes a person happy and unenvied.
The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.
I do not believe that any man fears to be dead, but only the stroke of death.
Francis Bacon
The worst men often give the best advice.
Therefore if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible.
Francis Bacon
Seek ye first the good things of the mind, and the rest will either be supplied or its loss will not be felt.
Francis Bacon
Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the Infinite.
Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New.
Francis Bacon
What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.
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.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
Francis Bacon
Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.
The place of justice is a hallowed place.
Science is but an image of the truth.
In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.
Francis Bacon
God hangs the greatest weights upon the smallest wires.
He that hath knowledge spareth his words.
Friendship increases in visiting friends, but in visiting them seldom.
The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.
Francis Bacon
In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.
Francis Bacon
Choose the life that is most useful, and habit will make it the most agreeable.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted… but to weigh and consider.
Francis Bacon
When a man laughs at his troubles he loses a great many friends. They never forgive the loss of their prerogative.
Francis Bacon
A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
Opportunity makes a thief.
There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little.
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.
Francis Bacon
Money is like manure, of very little use except it be spread.
The remedy is worse than the disease.
Who ever is out of patience is out of possession of their soul.
Truth is so hard to tell, it sometimes needs fiction to make it plausible.
Studies serve for delight, for ornaments, and for ability.
It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other.
Francis Bacon
We cannot command Nature except by obeying her.
By indignities men come to dignities.
They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.
Francis Bacon
Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; adversity not without many comforts and hopes.
Francis Bacon
As the births of living creatures are at first ill-shapen, so are all innovations, which are the births of time.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
They that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils.
Many a man's strength is in opposition, and when he faileth, he grows out of use.
Francis Bacon
There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
Riches are a good hand maiden, but a poor mistress.
For my name and memory I leave to men's charitable speeches, and to foreign nations and the next ages.
Francis Bacon
A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green.
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.
Francis Bacon
If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.
God has placed no limits to the exercise of the intellect he has given us, on this side of the grave.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
Francis Bacon
Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority.
Knowledge and human power are synonymous.
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.
Francis Bacon
Fortitude is the marshal of thought, the armor of the will, and the fort of reason.
Francis Bacon
Acorns were good until bread was found.
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.
Francis Bacon
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.
Francis Bacon
A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.
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.
Francis Bacon
Silence is the virtue of fools.
Judges must beware of hard constructions and strained inferences, for there is no worse torture than that of laws.
Francis Bacon
The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding.
Francis Bacon
A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion.
Francis Bacon
The pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon.
Francis Bacon
Knowledge is power.
God's first creature, which was light.
If a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics.
Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.