Sir Francis Bacon Quotes

Young men are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and fitter for new projects than for settled business. For the experience of age, in things that fall within the compass of it, directeth them; but in new things, abuseth them. The errors of young men are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged men amount but to this, that more might have done, or sooner. Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold; stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the means and degrees; pursue some few principles which they have chanced upon absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first; and, that which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them; like an unready horse, that will neither stop nor turn. 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.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), British essayist, statesman. "Of Youth and Age," The Essayes or Counsels (1625).
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Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), British philosopher, essayist, statesman. Quoting an anonymous source, in "Of Friendship," Essays (1597-1625).
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For also knowledge itself is power.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), British philosopher, essayist, statesman. Religious Meditations, "Of Heresies," (1597).
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For it is not possible to join serpentine wisdom with columbine innocency, 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.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), British philosopher, essayist, statesman. The Advancement of Learning, bk. 2, ch. 21, sct. 9 (1605). Bacon was referring to Jesus's words to the Apostles in Matthew 10:16: "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."
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We are much beholden to Machiavel and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), British philosopher, essayist, statesman. The Advancement of Learning, bk. 2, ch. 21, sct. 9 (1605).
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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.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), British philosopher, essayist, statesman. The Advancement of Learning, bk. 1, ch. 5, sct. 8 (1605).
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They are ill discoverers that think there is no land when they see nothing but sea.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), British philosopher, essayist, statesman. The Advancement of Learning, bk. 2, ch. 7, sct. 5 (1605).
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The doctrine of those who have denied that certainty could be attained at all, has some agreement with my way of proceeding at the first setting out; but they end in being infinitely separated and opposed. For the holders of that doctrine assert simply that nothing can be known; I also assert that not much can be known in nature by the way which is now in use. But then they go on to destroy the authority of the senses and understanding; whereas I proceed to devise helps for the same.
Francis Bacon (1560-1626), British political figure, essayist. The Great Instauration, Aphorism 37, p. 277, Essays, Advancement of Learning, New Atlantis, and Other Pieces, ed. Richard Foster Jones, Odyssey Press, New York (1937). An important statement of the "new science."
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Human knowledge and human power meet in one; for where the cause is not known the effect cannot be produced. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed; and that which in contemplation is as the cause is in operation as the rule.
Francis Bacon (1560-1626), British leading political figure, essayist. The Great Instauration, Aphorism 3, p. 272, Essays, Advancement of Learning, New Atlantis, and Other Pieces, ed. Richard Foster Jones, Odyssey Press, New York (1937). An important statement of the "new science."
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For man is but the servant and interpreter of nature: what he does and what he knows is only what he has observed of nature's order in fact or in thought; beyond this he knows nothing and can do nothing.
Francis Bacon (1560-1626), British political figure, essayist. The Great Instauration, "Plan of the Work," p. 264, Essays, Advancement of Learning, New Atlantis, and Other Pieces, ed. Richard Foster Jones, Odyssey Press, New York (1937). An important statement of the "new science."
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