Quotes by Francis Bacon

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Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, KC (22 January 1561 - 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman and essayist but is best known for leading the scientific revolution with his new 'observation and experimentation' ... more

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He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.

Suspicions that the mind, of itself, gathers, are but buzzes; but suspicions that are artificially nourished and put into men's heads by the tales and whisperings of others, have stings.
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.
Of great wealth there is no real use, except in its distribution, the rest is just conceit.
Choose the life that is most useful, and habit will make it the most agreeable.
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.
Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success.
Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things still; for age will not be defied.
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.
Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set.
Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.
Wives are young men's mistresses; companions for middle age, and old men's nurses. So as a man may have a quarrel to marry when he will.
No man's fortune can be an end worthy of his being.
The French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are.
Nature is commanded by obeying her.
Opportunity makes a thief.
Antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time.
The genius, wit, and the spirit of a nation are discovered by their proverbs.
God hangs the greatest weights upon the smallest wires.
A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open.
I would live to study, and not study to live.
Lies are sufficient to breed opinion, and opinion brings on substance.
Houses are built to live in, and not to look on; therefore let use be preferred before uniformity, except where both may be had. Leave the goodly fabrics of houses, for beauty only, to the enchanted palaces of the poets; who build them with small cost.
It is the true office of history to represent the events themselves, together with the counsels, and to leave the observations and conclusions thereupon to the liberty and faculty of every man's judgment.
God almighty first planted a garden: and, indeed, it is the purest of human pleasure.
Fortune is like the market, where, many times, if you can stay a little, the price will fall.
Riches are for spending.
Philosophy when superficially studied, excites doubt, when thoroughly explored, it dispels it.
God's first creature, which was light.
A good conscience is a continual feast.
In charity there is no excess.
Boldness is ever blind, for it sees not dangers and inconveniences whence it is bad in council though good in execution.
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 in the minds of men.
For it is not possible to join serpentine wisdom with columbine innocence, except men know exactly all the conditions of the serpent: his baseness and going upon his belly, his volubility and lubricity, his envy and sting, and the rest; that is, all forms and natures of evil: for without this, virtue lieth open and unfenced.
Nay, number itself in armies importeth not much, where the people is of weak courage; for, as Virgil saith, It never troubles the wolf how many the sheep be.
Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety.
What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.
It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tost upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to standing upon the vantage ground of truth... and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below.
Time is the measure of business.
To choose time is to save time.
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.
Be not penny-wise. Riches have wings. Sometimes they fly away of themselves, and sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more.
Money is like muck, not good except it be spread.
Mysteries are due to secrecy.
Nakedness is uncomely, as well in mind as body, and it addeth no small reverence to men's manners and actions if they be not altogether open. Therefore set it down: That a habit of secrecy is both politic and moral.
Many a man's strength is in opposition, and when he faileth, he grows out of use.
Pictures and shapes are but secondary objects and please or displease only in the memory.
We are much beholden to Machiavel and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do.
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.
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?.
I hold every man a debtor to his profession.
A man who contemplates revenge keeps his wounds green.
Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more a man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.
Riches are a good hand maiden, but a poor mistress.
People of great position are servants times three, servants of their country, servants of fame, and servants of business.
There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little, and therefore men should remedy suspicion by procuring to know more, and not keep their suspicions in smother.
Studies serve for delight, for ornaments, and for ability.
Studies perfect nature and are perfected still by experience.
Judges ought to be more learned than witty, more reverent than plausible, and more advised than confident. Above all things, integrity is their portion and proper virtue.
God has placed no limits to the exercise of the intellect he has given us, on this side of the grave.