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say, "That those who left useful studies for useless "scholastic speculations, were like the Olympic gamesters, who abstained from necessary labours, "that they might be fit for such as were not so."

19. He likewise often used this comparison:"The empirical philosophers are like to pismires; they only lay up and use their store. The rational"ists are like the spiders; they spin all out of their own bowels. But give me a philosoper, who, "like the bee, hath a middle faculty; gathering from "abroad, but digesting that which is gathered by his "own virtue.”



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20. The lord St. Alban, who was not over-hasty to raise theories, but proceeded slowly by experiments, was wont to say to some philosophers, who would not go his pace, "Gentlemen, nature is a labyrinth, in "which the very haste you move with, will make you lose your way.


21. The same lord, when he spoke of the Dutchmen, used to say, "That we could not abandon "them for our safety, nor keep them for our profit." And sometimes he would express the same sense in this manner; "We hold the Belgic lion by the ears."

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22. The same lord, when a gentleman seemed not much to approve of his liberality to his retinue, said to him, "Sir, I am all of a piece; if the head be lifted up, the inferior parts of the body must too."


23. The lord Bacon was wont to commend the advice of the plain old man at Buxton, that sold besoms: a proud lazy young fellow came to him for a besom upon trust; to whom the old man said, "Friend, "hast thou no money? borrow of thy back, and bor"row of thy belly; they'll ne'er ask thee again: I shall "be dunning thee every day."

24. Jack Weeks said of a great man, just then dead, who pretended to some religion, but was none of the best livers, “Well, I hope he is in heaven. Every man thinks as he wishes; but if he be in heaven, " 'twere pity it were known."


• See the substance of this in Novum Organum, and Cogitata et Visa.






1. Aleator, quanto in arte est melior, tanto est nequior.

A gamester, the greater master he is in his art, the worse man he is.

2. Arcum, intensio frangit; animum, remissio. Much bending breaks the bow; much unbending, the mind.

3. Bis vincit, qui se vincit in victoria.

He conquers twice, who upon victory overcomes himself.

4. Cum vitia prosint, peccat, qui recte facit. If vices were upon the whole matter profitable, the virtuous man would be the sinner.

5. Bene dormit, qui non sentit quod male dormiat. He sleeps well, who feels not that he sleeps ill. 6. Deliberare utilia, mora est tutissima.

To deliberate about useful things, is the safest delay.

7. Dolor decrescit, ubi quo crescat non habet.
The flood of grief decreaseth, when it can swell
no higher.

8. Etiam innocentes cogit mentiri dolor.
Pain makes even the innocent man a liar.
9. Etiam celeritas in desiderio, mora est.
In desire, swiftness itself is delay.

10. Etiam capillus unus habet umbram suam.
The smallest hair casts a shadow.

11. Fidem qui perdit, quo se servat in reliquum? He that has lost his faith, what has he left to live on?

12. Formosa facies muta commendatio est.
A beautiful face is a silent commendation.
13. Fortuna nimium quem fovet, stultum facit.
Fortune makes him a fool, whom she makes
her darling.

14. Fortuna obesse nulli contenta est semel.

Fortune is not content to do a man but one ill turn.

15. Facit gratum fortuna, quam nemo videt. The fortune which nobody sees, makes a man happy and unenvied.

16. Heu! quam miserum est ab illo lædi, de quo non possis queri.

O! what a miserable thing it is to be hurt by such a one of whom it is in vain to complain.

17. Homo toties moritur quoties amittit suos. A man dies as often as he loses his friends. 18. Hæredis fletus sub persona risus est.

The tears of an heir are laughter under a vizard. 19. Jucundum nihil est, nisi quod reficit varietas. Nothing is pleasant, to which variety does not give a relish.

20. Invidiam ferre, aut fortis, aut felix potest. He may bear envy, who is either courageous or happy.

21. In malis sperare bonum, nisi innocens, nemo potest.

None but a virtuous man can hope well in ill circumstances.

22. In vindicando, criminosa est celeritas. In taking revenge, the very haste we make is criminal.

23. In calamitoso risus etiam injuria est.

When men are in calamity, if we do but laugh we offend.

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24. Improbe Neptunum accusat, qui iterum naufragium facit.

He accuseth Neptune unjustly, who makes shipwreck a second time.

25. Multis minatur, qui uni facit injuriam. He that injures one, threatens a hundred, 26. Mora omnis ingrata est, sed facit sapientiam. All delay is ungrateful, but we are not wise without it.

27. Mori est felicis antequam mortem invocet. Happy he who dies ere he calls for death to take him away.

28. Malus ubi bonum se simulat, tunc est pessimus. An ill man isalways ill; but he is then worst of all, when he pretends to be a saint. 22. Magno cum periculo custoditur, quod multis placet.

Lock and key will scarce keep that secure, which pleases every body.

30. Male vivunt qui se semper victuros putant. They think ill, who think of living always. 31. Male secum agit æger, medicum qui hæredem


That sick man does ill for himself, who makes his physician his heir.

32. Multos timere debet, quem multi timent.

He of whom many are afraid, ought himself to fear many.

33. Nulla tam bona est fortuna, de qua nil possis queri.

There is no fortune so good, but it bates an ace. 34. Pars beneficii est, quod petitur si bene neges. It is part of the gift, if you deny genteely what is asked of you.

35. Timidus vocat se cautum, parcum sordidus. The coward calls himself a wary man ; and the miser says, he is frugal.

36. O vita! misero longa, felici brevis.

O life! an age to him that is in misery; and to him that is happy, a moment.



1. It is a strange desire which men have, to seek power, and lose liberty.

2. Children increase the cares of life; but they mitigate the remembrance of death.

3. Round dealing is the honour of man's nature; and a mixture of falsehood is like allay in gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it.

4. Death openeth the gate to good fame, and extinguisheth envy.

5. Schism in the spiritual body of the church is a greater scandal than a corruption in manners: as, in the natural body, a wound or solution of continuity is worse than a corrupt humour.

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

7. He that studieth revenge, keepeth his own wounds


8. Revengeful persons live and die like witches: their life is mischievous, and their end is unfortunate.

9. It was a high speech of Seneca, after the manner of the Stoics, that the good things which belong to prosperity, are to be wished; but the good things which belong to adversity, are to be admired.

10. He that cannot see well, let him go softly. 11. If a man be thought secret, it inviteth discovery; as the more close air sucketh in the more open. 12. Keep your authority wholly from your children, not so your purse.

13. Men of noble birth are noted to be envious towards new men when they rise: for the distance is altered; and it is like a deceit of the eye, that when others come on, they think themselves go back.

14. That envy is most malignant which is like

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