Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“In charity there is no excess.”

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake…”

“Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.”

“I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.”

“It’s not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity.”

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”

“It is impossible to love and to be wise.”

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”

“Knowledge itself is power.”

“I have often thought upon death, and I find it the least of all evils.”

“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.”

“The worst solitude is to be destitute of sincere friendship.”

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”

“The job of the artist is to deepen the mystery.”

“The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.”

“There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.”

“Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.”

“The human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it.”

“Oh! Death will find me long before I tire of watching you.”

“Without friends the world is but a wilderness. There is no man that imparteth his joys to his friends, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his grieves to his friend, but he grieveth the less.”

“The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall.”

“Natural abilities are like natural plants; they need pruning by study.”

“Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the infinite.”

“A prudent question is one half of wisdom.”

“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world.”

“The wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts: but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”

“Time is the measure of business.”

“In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.”

“Fortitude is the marshal of thought, the armor of the will, and the fort of reason.”

“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.”

“Money is a good servant but a bad master.”

“Little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth. For a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.”

“Houses are built to live in and not to look on.”

“Old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.”

“Prosperity discovers vice, adversity discovers virtue.”

“Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New.”

“Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished.”

“God Almighty first planted a garden; and, indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.”

“God never wrought miracles to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it.”

“The zeal which begins with hypocrisy must conclude in treachery; at first it deceives, at last it betrays”

“A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.”

“Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes.”

“Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.”

“Wise men make more opportunities than they find.”

“The momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or evil.”

“Men commonly think according to their inclinations, speak according to their learning and imbibed opinions, but generally act according to custom.”

“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.”

“A bad man is worse when he pretends to be a saint.”

“As the births of living creatures, at first, are ill-shapen: so are all innovations, which are the births of time.”

“The joys of parents are secret, and so are their griefs and fears: they cannot utter the one, nor will they utter the other”

“Vain-glorious men are the scorn of the wise, the admiration of fools, the idols of paradise, and the slaves of their own vaunts.”

“Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; adversity not without many comforts and hopes.”

“To spend too much time in studies is sloth.”

“Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.”

“The place of justice is a hallowed place.”

“Philosophy, when superficially studied, excites doubt; when thoroughly explored, it dispels it.”

“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.”

“Atheism is rather in the life than in the heart of man.”

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

“The best preservative to keep the mind on health is the faithful admonition of a friend.”

“Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, even if religion vanished; but religious superstition dismounts all these and erects an absolute monarchy.”

“There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that lost by not trying.”

“History makes people wise.”

“Young men are fitter to invent than to judge, fitter for execution than for counsel, and fitter for new projects than for settled business.”

“A healthy body is a guest chamber for the soul: a sick body is a prison.”

“Men suppose their reason has command over their words; still it happens that words in return exercise authority on reason.”

“If a man’s wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics.”

“Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, but to weigh and consider . . . Histories make men wise.”

“Knowledge and human power are synonymous”

“Hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper.”

“Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”

“Many secrets of art and nature are thought by the unlearned to be magical.”

“The pleasure and delight of knowledge and learning, it far surpasseth all other in nature”

“It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of a man and the security of a god.”

“There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little.”

“Silence is the virtue of fools.”

“Cure the disease and kill the patient.”

“The way of fortune is like the milky way in the sky; which is a number of smaller 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.”

“Wives are young men’s mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men’s nurses.”

“Seek ye first the good things of the mind, and the rest will either be supplied or its loss will not be felt.”

“It had been hard for him that spake it to have put more truth and untruth together, in few words, than in that speech: `Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast, or a god’.”

“The poets did well to conjoin music and medicine, because the office of medicine is but to tune the curious harp of man’s body.”

“Boldness is ever blind, for it sees not dangers and inconveniences whence it is bad in council though good in execution”

“Friendship increases in visiting friends, but in visiting them seldom.”

“Studies serve for delight, for ornaments, and for ability.”

“The joys of parents are secret, and so are their griefs and fears.”

“Envy is ever joined with the comparing of a man’s self; and where there is no comparison, no envy.”

“Man, being the servant and interpreter of nature, can do and understand so much and so much only as he has observed in fact or in thought of the course of nature: beyond this he neither knows anything nor can do anything.”

“Fashion is only the attempt to realize art in living forms and social intercourse.”

“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.”

“Judges must beware of hard constructions and strained inferences, for there is no worse torture than that of laws.”

“The desire for power in excess caused angels to fall; the desire for knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity is no excess, neither can man or angels come into danger by it.”

“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.”

“Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.”

“Out of monuments, names, words, proverbs, traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of books, and the like, we do save and recover somewhat from the deluge of time.”

“Great hypocrite are the real atheists.”

“Friendship redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in half”

“Boldness is a child of ignorance.”

“Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.”

“A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.”

“Mahomet made the people believe that he would call a hill to him, and from the top of it offer up his prayers for the observers of his law. The people assembled. Mahomet called the hill to come to him, again and again; and when the hill stood still he was never a whit abashed, but said, ‘If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill’.”

“Revenge is a kind of wild justice.”

“Man prefers to think what he prefers to be true.”

“If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be said to possess wealth, as that may be said to possess him.”

“He that hath knowledge spareth his words.”

“I do not believe that any man fears to be dead, but only the stroke of death.”

“To choose time is to save time.”

“I would live to study, and not study to live.”

“The worst men often give the best advice.”

“Whoever 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.”

“It is a secret both in nature and state, that it is safer to change many things than one.”

“To suffering there is a limit; to fearing, none.”

“A man must make his opportunity, as oft as find it.”

“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.”

“It is impossible to love and be wise”

“Habit, if wisely and skillfully formed, becomes truly a second nature; but unskillfully and unmethodically depicted, it will be as it were an ape of nature, which imitates nothing to the life, but only clumsily and awkwardly.”

“They that deny a God destroy man’s nobility, for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and if he is not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature.”

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”

“He that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils: for Time is the greatest innovator: and if Time, of course, alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?.”

“There is little friendship in the world, and least of all between equals.”

“In nature things move violently to their place, and calmly in their place.”

“God hangs the greatest weights upon the smallest wires.”

“The ill and unfit choice of words wonderfully obstructs the understanding.”

“Be not penny-wise. Riches have wings. Sometimes they fly away of themselves, and sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more.”

“If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.”

“Men in great place are thrice servants, – servants of the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business.”

“No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage-ground of truth.”

“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.”

“The fortune which nobody sees makes a person happy and unenvied.”

“Knowledge is a rich storehouse for the glory of the Creator, and the relief of man’s estate.”

“It is the wisdom of the crocodiles, that shed tears when they would devour.”

“No man’s fortune can be an end worthy of his being.”

“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.”

“All rising to a great place is by a winding stair.”

“Chiefly the mold of a man’s fortune is in his own hands.”

“Fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid.”

“Suspicions amongst thoughts are like bats amongst birds, they ever fly by twilight.”

“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.”

“To be free minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of meat and sleep and of exercise is one of the best precepts of long lasting.”

“A wise man that had it for a by-word, when he saw men hasten to a conclusion, `Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner’.”

“Rebellions of the belly are the worst.”

“Prosperity doth best discover vice, but Adversity doth best discover virtue.”

“When a man laughs at his troubles he loses a great many friends. They never forgive the loss of their prerogative.”

“Nature is a labyrinth in which the very haste you move with will make you lose your way.”

“Certainly it is a heaven upon earth, to have a man’s mind to move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.”

“Studies perfect nature and are perfected still by experience.”

“Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.”

“Words, when written, crystallize history; their very structure gives permanence to the unchangeable past.”

“Money is like muck, not good except it be spread.”

“Nothing is terrible except fear itself.”

“Men on their side must force themselves for a while to lay their notions by and begin to familiarize themselves with facts.”

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

“In every great time there is some one idea at work which is more powerful than any other, and which shapes the events of the time and determines their ultimate issues.”

“Nothing destroys authority more than the unequal and untimely interchange of power stretched too far and relaxed too much.”

“Nuptial love maketh mankind; friendly love perfecteth it; but wanton love corrupteth and embaseth it.”

“Books must follow sciences, and not sciences books.”

“The sun, which passeth through pollutions and itself remains as pure as before.”

“A graceful and pleasing figure is a perpetual letter of recommendation.”

“Death is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home.”

“God Almighty first planted a garden.”

“For my name and memory, I leave it to men’s charitable speeches, to foreign nations, and to the next ages.”

“Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority.”

“People have discovered that they can fool the devil; but they can’t fool the neighbors.”

“The greatest vicissitude of things amongst men is the vicissitude of sects and religions.”

“For none deny there is a God, but those for whom it maketh that there were no God.”

“Universities incline wits to sophistry and affectation.”

“A bachelor’s life is a fine breakfast, a flat lunch, and a miserable dinner.”

“Acorns were good until bread was found.”

“A just fear of an imminent danger, though there be no blow given, is a lawful cause of war.”

“Fortune his like the market, where many times, if you can stay a little, the price will fall.”

“It is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it that doth the hurt.”

“States as great engines move slowly.”

“We cannot command Nature except by obeying her.”

“Our humanity were a poor thing were it not for the divinity which stirs within us.”

“Custom is the principle magistrate of man’s life.”

“Man seeketh in society comfort, use and protection.”

“Be so true to thyself as thou be not false to others.”

“Measure not dispatch by the time of sitting, but by the advancement of business.”

“The four pillars of government . . . (which are religion, justice, counsel, and treasure).”

“Life, an age to the miserable, and a moment to the happy.”

“Age will not be defied.”

“There is a superstition in avoiding superstition.”

“The noblest works and foundations have proceeded from childless men.”

“New nobility is but the act of power, but ancient nobility is the act of time.”

“Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things still; for age will not be defied.”

“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.”


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