Quotes of Francis Bacon

It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships lost upon the sea: A pleasure to stand in the window of a Castle, and to see a Battaile, and the Adventures thereof, below: But no pleasure is comparable, to the standing , upon the vantage ground of Truth......

Knowledge is power.

Read not to contradict and confute,nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse but to weigh and consider.

Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.

To write at leisure what is to be read at leisure does not interest me. My concern is with life and human affairs and all their troubles and difficulties. It is these I wish to improve by true and wholesome thoughts.
--Letter to Casaubon, 1609.

I have though in a despised weed procured the good of all men.(weed ,Bacon tells us is a cloak to hide a man's identity)

I have taken all knowledge to be my province.

My story is proud...The entry of truth with chalk to mark those minds which are capable to lodge and harbour it.

Whether it be curiosity, or vain glory, or nature, Philanthropy is so fixed in my mind as it cannot be removed.

The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess; neither can angel or man come in danger by it.

It is the glory of God is to conceal a thing; but the honor of Kings is to search out a matter.
--Proverbs 25,2 (a favorite quotation of Sir Francis Bacon's).

"The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath work ever since is the illumination of his spirit.- from his essay, " Of Truth"

If we labor in thy works with the sweat of our brows thou wilt make us partakers of thy vision and thy Sabbath. Humbly we pray that this mind may be steadfast in us, and that through these our hands, and the hands of others to whom thou shalt give the same spirit, thou wilt vouchsafe to endow the human family with new mercies. - from the "Plan of the Work"

Hidden truth comes to light by time.

Times glory is to calm contending Kings, to unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.

As time which is the author of authors, be not deprived of his due, which is furthur and furthur to discover truth.

What is truth ? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer. But it is not only the difficulty and labour which men take in finding out of truth....that doth bring lies in favour but a natural, though corrupt love of the lie itself.

For by this unchargeable way, my lords, have I proposed to erect the academical fabric of this island's Solomon's House, modelled in my New Atlantis. And I can hope, my lords, that my midnight studies, to make our countries flourish and outvie European neighbors in mysterious and beneficent arts, have not so ungratefully effected your noble intellects, that you may delay or resist his Majesty's desires, and my humble petition in this benevolent, yea, magnificent affair; since your honorable posterities may be enriched thereby, and my ends are only to make the world my heir, and the learned fathers of my Solomon's House, the successive and sworn trustees in the dispensation of this great service, for God's glory, my prince's magnificence, this parliament's honor, our country's general good, and the propagation of my own memory.-----Speech made before Parliament

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

Light is God's first creature.

For all color is the broken image of light.

Tragedies and Comedies are made of one Alphabet.

For my name and memory, I leave it to foreign nations, and to mine own countrymen after some time be passed over.

Discovery sooner emerges from error than from confusion.

Divinity is the art of arts.

The end of our Foundation is the knowledge of Causes, and secret motion of Causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of Human Empire, to the effecting of all things possible.

Laws are made to guard the rights of the people, not to feed the lawyers. The laws should be read by all, known to all. Put them into shape, inform them with philosophy, reduce them in bulk, give them into every man's hand.

I see you withdraw your favour from me, and now I have lost many friends for your sake: I shall lose you, too. You have put me like one of those that the Frenchmen call Enfans perdu...(lost children); so have you put me into matters of envy without Place or Strength. Francis Bacon to Queen Elizabeth, "Apologia"

Men believe what they prefer.

These we call Idols of the Theatre, for we account all invented systems of philosophy as so many stage-plays, representing scenic and fictitious worlds.......Nor in this do we comprehend only the universal philosophies, but all principles and axioms of Knowledge which have thrived on tradition, credulity and negligence........

Briefly I commend myself to your love, and to the well-using of my name.....as impressing a good conceit and opinion of me chiefly in the King (James I), of whose favour I make myself comfortable assurance, as otherwise in that Court......so desiring you to be good to concealed poets, I continue....(letter to his friend John Davies)

The souls of the living are the beauty of the world.

Money is like muck, best when it is spread out.

The knowledge of man is as the waters, some descending from above and some springing from beneath, the one formed by the light of nature, the other by Divine

Certainly it is agreeable to reason, that there are at least some light effluxions from spirit, when men are in presence one with another, as well as from body to body.

Our sorrows are our schoolmasters.

Dramatic Poesy which has the theatre for its world, would be of excellent use if well directed. For the stage is capable of no small influence both of discipline and of corruption. .....in modern states play-acting is esteemed but as a toy, except when it is too satirical and biting, yet among the ancients it was used as a means of educating men's minds to virtue. It has been regarded by learned men and great philosophers as a kind of musician's bow by which mens minds may be played upon.

There be some whose lives are as if they perpetually played a part upon a stage, disguised to all others, open only to themselves.

It is a thing indeed{stage-playing}, if practiced professionally, of low repute, but if it be made a part of discipline, it is of excellent use. I mean stage playing, an art which strengthens the memory, regulates the tone and effect of the voice and pronunciation, teaches a decent carriage of the countenance and gesture, gives not a little assurance, and accustoms young men to bear being looked at.

Truth , which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature.

And certainly it is most true, and one of the great secrets of nature, that the minds of men are more open to impressions and affections when many are gathered together than when they are alone.

And since I have lost much time with this age, I would be glad, as God shall give me leave, to recover it with posterity.

........my words require an Age, a whole Age perchance, to prove them, and many Ages to perfect them.

God is to be conceived as an eternally continuing Power of Thought, and, as such, the only essence, substance, or matter, the last power and cause of all Nature, a Divine Artist-Mind, eternally thinking, that is, creating, a Universe, being, in fact, no other than the order, operation, and Mind of Nature.

In God all knowledge is original.

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

That beneath no small number of the fables of ancient poets there lay from the very beginning a mystery and an allegory.

I would rather believe all the fables of the Koran, all the fantastic stories of the Talmud, all the miracles of the scriptures of the world, than to believe that this Universe was without a soul.

My soul hath been a stranger in the course of my pilgrimage. Be merciful unto me, O Lord, for my savior's sake, and receive me into thy bosom, or guide me in thy ways.

.....by the intricate envelopings of the delivery, the profane vulgar may be removed form the secrets of the sciences, and they only admitted who had either acquired the interpretation of parables by tradition from their teachers, or, by the sharpness and subtlety of their own wits, could pierce the veil.

If we have spoken the truth, the voice of nature will cry it up, though the voice of man should cry it down.

Let great authors, therefore have their due, but so as not to defraud time which is the author of authors and the parent of truth.

So give authors their due , as you give time his due, which is to discover truth.

Neither the births nor the abortions of Time have been registered.

The virtue of prosperity is temperance, the virue of adversity is fortitude. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater Benediction.

Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes, and Adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see in needleworks and embroderies that it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightstone ground.

The nature of everything is best considered in the seed.

The world's a bubble, and the life of man less than a span.

It is reported by the ancients, that the ostrich layeth her eggs under sand, where the heat of the sun discloses them.

Beggars should not be choosers.

All is not gold that glisters.

Conscience is worth a thousand witnesses.

God Almighty first planted a garden, and indeed it is the purest of human pleasures. It is the greatest refreshment of the spirit of man, without which buildings and palaces are but gross handiwork.

I send you also a memorial of Queen Elizabeth......Of this, when you were here, I shewed you some model, though at that time me thought you were more willing to hear Julius Caesar that Queen Elizabeth commended. But this which I send is more full and hath more of the narrative. -- Letter to Tobie Matthew who was being sent a revised draft of the play 1609

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