Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Francis Bacon

English Scientist, Author, Philosopher

"Whosoever in the frame of his nature and affections is unfit for friendship, he taketh it of the beast, and not from humanity."

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

"Why should I be angry with a man for loving himself better than me?"

"Why should a man be in love with his fetters, though of gold?"

"Wisdom in speaking more valuable than fluency."

"Wise men make more opportunities than they find."

"Wisdom in the converse is more valuable than eloquence."

"Wise people make history, poetry makes people fluent tongue, making the ingenious mathematics, philosophy leads people to think in, makes people behave morally earnest, logic and science of speech makes people come forward and speak."

"With a gentleman I am always a gentleman and a half, and with a fraud I try to be a fraud and a half."

"With regard to authority, it is the greatest weakness to attribute infinite credit to particular authors, and to refuse his own judgment to Time, the author of all authors, and therefore of all authority."

"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."

"Without good-nature, man is but a better kind of vermin."

"With respect to this charge of bribery I am as innocent as any born upon St. Innocent's Day. I never had bribe or reward in my eye or thoughts when pronouncing sentence or order."

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

"Wonder is the seed of knowledge"

"Words, as a Tartar's bow, do not shoot back upon the understanding of the wisest, and mightily entangle and pervert the judgment."

"Women to govern men, slaves freemen, are much in the same degree; all being total violations and perversions of the laws of nature and nations."

"You may observe that amongst all the great and worthy persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent) there is not one that hath been transported to the mad degree of love,—which shows that great spirits and great business do keep out this weak passion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus Antoninus, the half-partner of the empire of Rome, and Appius Claudius, the decemvir and lawgiver."

"You could say that I have no inspiration, that I only need to paint."

"You want accuracy, but not representation. If you know how to make the figuration, it doesn't work. Anything you can make, you make by accident. In painting, you have to know what you do, not how, when you do it."

"You see, painting has now become, or all art has now become completely a game, by which man distracts himself. What is fascinating actually is, that it's going to become much more difficult for the artist, because he must really deepen the game to become any good at all."

"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 been 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."

"You had better take for business a man somewhat absurd, than over-formal."