160 Francis Bacon Quotes

These Francis Bacon quotes will put your mind to work! As someone who’s considered as a beacon of knowledge during the Renaissance, you’re sure to learn a thing or two from this collection.

Our full list boasts of 160 lines from his greatest works like the Novum Organum and gives a glimpse of how he made the Baconian Method notable until today.

Check out the complete collection below.

Best Francis Bacon Quotes

1. “Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.”

2. “There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.”

3. “Age appears best in four things—old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.”

4. “Knowledge itself is power.”

5. “Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”

6. “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.”

7. “Reading maketh a full man; and writing an exact man. And therefore, if a man writes little, he need have a present wit; and if he read little, he need have much cunning to seem to know which he doth not.”

8. “Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment—sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake.”

9. “Wonder is the seed of knowledge.”

10. “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”

11. “Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.”

12. “Money is a great servant but a bad master.”

13. “Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.”

14. “It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to everybody else, and still unknown to himself.”

15. “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”

16. “Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.”

17. “It is impossible to love and be wise.”

18. “The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.”

19. “In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.”

20. “There are two ways of spreading light—to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

Francis Bacon Quotes on Truth and Life’s Realities

21. “There are but two tragedies in life—one is one’s inability to attain one’s heart’s desire; the other is to have it!”

22. “Choose the life that is most useful, and habit will make it the most agreeable.”

23. “It might be a long trip, so be careful not to wear your shoes out. You might need them in the afterlife.”

24. “A bachelor’s life is a fine breakfast, a flat lunch, and a miserable dinner.”

25. “The less people speak of their greatness, the more we think of it.”

26. “If we are to achieve things never before accomplished, we must employ methods never before attempted.”

27. “There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying.”

28. “The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.”

29. “The monuments of wit survive the monuments of power.”

30. “The serpent, if it wants to become the dragon, must eat itself.”

31. “Great boldness is seldom without some absurdity.”

32. “Nature cannot be commanded except by being obeyed.”

33. “A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.”

34. “Silence is the virtue of fools.”

35. “Money is like manure, it’s only good if you spread it around.”

36. “The remedy is worse than the disease.”

37. “A man that is young in years may be old in hours if he has lost no time.”

38. “By far, the best proof is experience.”

39. “Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished.”

40. “I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.”

41. “To suffering, there is a limit; to fearing, none.”

42. “The idols of tribe have their foundation in human nature itself, and in the tribe or race of men.”

43. “It is a false assertion that the sense of man is the measure of things.”

44. “The human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it.”

45. “The surest way to prevent sedition is to take away the matter from them.”

46. “The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion—either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself—draws all things else to support and agree with it.”

47. “The virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude.”

48. “The human understanding is of its own nature prone to suppose the existence of more order and regularity in the world than it finds.”

49. “Men fear death as children fear to go into the dark, and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.”

50. “The way of fortune is like the Milky Way in the sky, which is a meeting or knot of a number of small stars; not seen asunder, but giving light together.”

51. “By indignities, men come to dignities.”

52. “Constancy is the foundation of virtues.”

53. “Revenge is a king of wild justice.”

54. “The eye of the human understanding is not a naked organ of perception, but an eye imbued with moisture by will and passion. Man always believes what he determines to believe.”

55. “Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they are not altered for the better designedly.”

56. “What then remains, but that we still should cry not to be born, or being born, to die?”

57. “It is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives.”

58. “I wonder why it is that the countries with the most nobles also have the most misery?”

59. “All colours will agree in the dark.”

60. “A small task, if it be really daily, will beat the efforts of a spasmodic Hercules.”

61. “The folly of one man is the fortune of another.”

62. “There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious.”

63. “He of whom many are afraid ought to fear many.”

64. “The understanding must not therefore be supplied with wings, but rather hung with weights, to keep it from leaping and flying.”

65. “Despise no new accident in your body, but ask opinion of it.”

66. “It’s all so meaningless, we may as well be extraordinary.”

67. “Certainly fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid.”

68. “Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.”

69. “Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes.”

70. “Judges ought to remember that their office is to interpret law, and not to make law, or give law.”

71. “Let every student of nature take this as a rule—that whatever his mind seizes and dwells upon with peculiar satisfaction is to be held in suspicion.”

72. “We gave ourselves for lost men, and prepared for death.”

73. “Natural abilities are like natural plants that need pruning, by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they are bound in by experience.”

74. “Men in great places are thrice servants, servants to the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business, so as they have freedom, neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor in their times.”

75. “Slander boldly, something always sticks.”

76. “It often falls out that somewhat is produced of nothing; for lies are sufficient to breed opinion, and opinion brings on substance.”

Francis Bacon Quotes on Science, Religion, and Knowledge

77. “Books must follow sciences, and not sciences, books.”

78. “God has, in fact, written two books, not just one. Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture. But he has written a second book called creation.”

79. “To say that a man lieth, is as much to say as that he is brave towards God, and a coward towards men.”

80. “Nobody can be healthful without exercise—neither natural body nor politics; and certainly to a kingdom or state, a just and honourable war is the true exercise.”

81. “Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”

82. “God never wrought a miracle to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it. It is true that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about religion.”

83. “Lie faces God and shrinks from men.”

84. “I have often thought upon death, and I find it the least of all evils.”

85. “God Almighty first planted a garden, and indeed it is the purest of human pleasures.”

86. “Once the human mind has favoured certain views, it pulls everything else into agreement with and support for them.”

87. “The inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or the 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.”

88. “Great art is always a way of concentrating, reinventing what is called fact, what we know of our existence—a reconcentration; tearing away the veils, the attitudes people acquire of their time and earlier time. Really good artists tear down those veils.”

89. “For the unlearned man knows not what it is to descend into himself, or to call himself to account.”

90. “If a book is not worth reading twice, it is not worth reading once.”

91. “For the things of this world cannot be made known without a knowledge of mathematics.”

92. “The images of men’s wit and knowledge remain in books, exempted from the worry of time and capable of perpetual renovation.”

93. “Libraries are like the shrine where all the relics of the ancient saints—full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed.”

94. “Truth is so hard to tell, it sometimes needs fiction to make it plausible.”

95. “Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority.”

96. “Truth is a naked and open daylight, that does not show the masques, and mummeries, and triumphs of the world, half so stately and daintily as candle-lights.”

97. “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.”

98. “Truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion.”

99. “Truth is a good dog; but always beware of barking too close to the heels of an error, lest you get your brains kicked out.”

100. “Philosophy, when superficially studied, excites doubt; when thoroughly explored, it dispels it.”

101. “Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.”

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

103. “He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.”

104. “They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.”

105. “Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience. He that travelleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel.”

106. “Books speak plain when counselors blanch.”

107. “The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance.”

108. “To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar.”

109. “This is certain—that a man that studieth revenge keeps his wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.”

110. “There arises from a bad and inapt formation of words, a wonderful obstruction to the mind.”

111. “The poets did well to conjoin music and medicine in Apollo, because the office of medicine is but to tune the curious harp of man’s body and reduce it to harmony.”

112. “Crafty men condemn studies; simple men admire them; and wise men use them. For they teach not their own use, but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation.”

113. “It is the wisdom of crocodiles that shed tears when they would devour.”

114. “Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things still; for age will not be defied.”

115. “Worthy books are not companions—they are solitudes. We lose ourselves in them and all our cares.”

116. “There is wisdom in this beyond the rules of physics.”

117. “A man’s observation, what he finds good and of what he finds hurt, is the best physic to preserve health.”

118. “If a man looks sharply and attentively, he shall see fortune; for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible.”

119. “The true atheist is he whose hands are cauterized by holy things.”

120. “So if a man’s wit is wandering, let him study mathematics.”

121. “Reasoning draws a conclusion, but does not make the conclusion certain, unless the mind discovers it by the path of experience.”

122. “The punishing of wits enhances their authority.”

123. “It is not the lie that passes through the mind, but the lie that sinks in and settles in it, that does the hurt.”

124. “There are many wise men that have secret hearts and transparent countenances.”

125. “Nothing is so mischievous as the apotheosis of error.”

126. “The real test of knowledge is not whether it is true but whether it empowers us.”

Francis Bacon Quotes on Love and Relationships

127. “Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.”

128. “The worst solitude is to be destitute of true friendship.”

129. “For friends do but look upon good books: they are true friends, that will neither flatter nor dissemble.”

130. “A false friend is more dangerous than an open enemy.”

131. “Where a man cannot fitly play his own part; if he has not a friend, he may quit the stage.”

132. “Nuptial love maketh mankind; friendly love perfected it; but wanton love corrupteth, and embaseth it.”

133. “Death is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home.”

134. “For a crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.”

135. “There was never a proud man that thought so absurdly well of himself, as the lover doth of the person loved.”

136. “But it is not only the difficulty and labor which men take in finding out of truth, nor again that when it is found it imposed upon men’s thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor; but a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself.”

137. “The only really interesting thing is what happens between two people in a room.”

138. “He that gives good advice, builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example, builds with both; but he that gives good admonition and bad example, builds with one hand and pulls down with the other.”

139. “The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.”

140. “Parents who wish to train up their children in the way they should go must go in the way in which they would have their children go.”

141. “For no man can forbid the spark nor tell whence it may come.”

142. “If a man is gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows that he is a citizen of the world.”

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

144. “People of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon and seldom drive business home to its conclusion, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success.”

145. “Beauty is as summer fruits, which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last; and for the most part it makes a dissolute youth, and an age a little out of countenance; but yet certainly again, if it lights well, it maketh virtue shine, and vices blush.”

146. “Virtue is like precious odours, more fragrant when they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.”

147. “Virtue is like a rich stone—best plain set.”

148. “Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety.”

149. “All rising to a great place is by a winding stair.”

150. “For better it is to make a beginning of that which may lead to something, than to engage in a perpetual struggle and pursuit in courses which have no exit.”

151. “Seek not proud riches, but such as thou mayest get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly.”

152. “Mixtures of lies doth ever add pleasure.”

153. “It is a miserable state of mind to have few things to desire and many things to fear. And yet that commonly is the case of kings.”

154. “This communicating of a man’s self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it re-doubles joys, and cuts griefs in halves.”

155. “It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and see the ships tossed upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle and adventures thereof below; but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth, and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below.”

156. “A man dies as often as he loses his friends.”

157. “Even within the most beautiful landscape, in the trees, under the leaves the insects are eating each other; violence is a part of life.”

158. “There is no man doth wrong for the wrong’s sake; but thereby to purchase himself profit, or pleasure, or honour, or the like. There, why should I be angry with a man for loving himself better than me? And if any man should do wrong merely out of ill nature, why, yet it is but like the thorn or briar, which prick and scratch, because they can do no other.”

159. “Wives are young men’s mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men’s nurses.”

160. “If you are not happy for a minute, then you lost 60 seconds of happiness in your life.”

Which of these Quotes from Francis Bacon Opened New Paths of Wonder for You?

Francis Bacon was a key figure who pioneered a new intellectual era during the Renaissance. With his great mind and genuine enthusiasm, he pursued an ideology that gave the world a new path to knowledge and wisdom. In turn, he’s now known as the Father of the Scientific Method—credited for using inductive reasoning instead of deductive reasoning in order to arrive at facts and general knowledge.

Did these quotes from Francis Bacon give you a way to understand humanity differently? Are there any other quotes from Francis Bacon you’d like us to include in this list? Comment them down below.

Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

Leave a Comment