The Elements of the Common Law of England (1597)
(aka Maxims of the Law )
Complete - Google Books
Complete - Constitution Society
A Declaration of the Practises & Treasons Attempted and
Committed by Robert, late Earl of Essex and his Complices (1601)
Complete - Google Books
Sir Francis Bacon His Apology, in Certain Imputations
Concerning the Late Earl of Essex (1604)
Complete - Paul DuPuy
Certain Considerations Touching the Better Pacification
and Edification of the Church of England (1604)
Complete - Google Books
Valerius Terminus of the Interpretation of Nature (wr.1604)
Complete - University of Adelaide
Complete - Google Books
De sapientia veterum liber (1609)
Complete - Google Books
The Charge of Sir Francis Bacon, Knight,
the King's Attorney-General, Touching Duels (1614)
Complete - Google Books
The History of the Reign of King Henry the Seventh (1622)
Complete - Google Books
Historia Regni Henrici Septimi (1638) - The Philological Museum
The Translation of Certain Psalms (1625)
Complete - Google Books
The New Atlantis (wr.1624,pub. 1626)
Complete - University of Adelaide
Complete - Constitution Society
Scripta in naturali et universali philosophia (pub. 1653)
Complete - Google Books
Works Attributed to Bacon:
Gesta Grayorum (1599) - Shake-n-Bacon
Francis Bacon had many accomplishments. He was a scientist, a philosopher, and a politician, and he was adept, too, at taking bribes; for this he had been imprisoned. It is, however, as a literary man that he is perhaps best remembered, a writer so competent with the pen that for decades there have been some persons willing to argue that Bacon wrote the plays attributed to William Shakespeare.
The essay form is rare in the modern age, although there are some faint signs of its revival. As Bacon used it, the essay is a carefully fashioned statement, both informative and expressive, by which a person comments on life and manners, on nature and its puzzles. The essay is not designed to win people to a particular cause or to communicate factual matter better put in scientific treatises. Perhaps that is one reason why it is not so popular in an age in which the truth of claims and their practical importance are always questioned.
The Essays first appeared, ten in number, in 1597. They were immediately popular because they were brief, lively, humane, and well-written. Perhaps they were effective in contrast to the rambling, florid prose written by most writers of the time. A considerable part of their charm lay in their civilized tone. In these essays, Bacon reveals himself as an inquisitive but also an appreciative man with wit enough to interest others. The first edition contained the following essays: “Of Studies,” “Of Discourse,” “Of Ceremonies and Respects,” “Of Followers and Friends,” “Of Suitors,” “Of Expense,” “Of Regiment of Health,” “Of Honour and Reputation,” “Of Faction,” and “Of Negociating.”
By 1612, the number of essays had been increased to thirty-eight, the earlier ones having been revised or rewritten. By the last edition, in 1625, the number was fifty-eight. Comparison of the earlier essays with those written later shows not only a critical mind at work but also a man made sadder and wiser, or at least different, by changes in fortune.
The essays concern themselves with such universal concepts as truth, death, love, goodness, friendship, fortune, and praise. They cover such controversial matters as religion, atheism, “the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates,” custom and education, and usury, and they consider such intriguing matters as envy, cunning, innovations, suspicion, ambition, praise, vainglory, and the vicissitudes of things.
The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral. as they are called in the heading of the first essay, begins with an essay on truth entitled “Of Truth.” The title formula is always the same, simply a naming of the matter to be discussed, as, for example, “Of Death,” “Of Unity in Religion,” “Of Adversity,” “What is Truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.” One expects a sermon, and one is pleasantly surprised. Bacon uses his theme as a point of departure for a discussion of the charms of lying, trying to fathom the love of lying for its own sake. “A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure,” he writes. This pleasure is ill-founded, however; it rests on error resulting from depraved judgment. Bacon reverses himself grandly: “. 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.”
When it comes to death, Bacon begins by admitting that tales of death increase humanity’s natural fear of it, but he reminds the reader that death is not always painful. By references to Augustus Caesar, Tiberius, Vespasian, and others, Bacon shows that, even.
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Bowen, Catherine D. Francis Bacon: The Temper of a Man. Boston: Little, Brown, 1963. Although this work is basically a biography of Bacon, Bowen includes some discussion of the publishing history of the essays and an analysis of Bacon’s style, concentrating particularly on his aphorisms and wit.
Bush, Douglas. English Literature in the Earlier Seventeenth Century, 1600-1660. 2d ed. rev. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979. Bush examines Bacon’s essays in the light of his other prose writings, noting particularly the limitations of Bacon’s understanding that led him to evaluate success in rather materialistic terms.
Matthews, Steven. Theology and Science in the Thought of Francis Bacon. Burlington, Vt. Ashgate, 2008. Examines Bacon’s religious beliefs and how his theological ideas influenced his program to reform learning and the natural sciences.
Patrick, John Max. Francis Bacon. London: Longmans, Green, 1966. This short work is a general introduction to Bacon’s life and work. Patrick notes that the essays are not intended to be a personal expression and examines Bacon’s fondness for balance, antithesis, three-item series, and aphorism.
Quinton, Anthony. Francis Bacon. Edited by Keith Thomas. New York: Hill and Wang, 1980. Quinton discusses the literary quality of the essays giving particular attention to their aphoristic style; he notes that their subjects range from public affairs to private life and frequently deal with abstractions such as truth or beauty. He also notes the cynical quality of Bacon’s thought.
Sessions, William A. Francis Bacon Revisited. New York: Twayne, 1996. A critical and historical analysis of Bacon’s writings, in which Sessions argues that Bacon’s works are both “contemplative inscriptions” and “instruments for the remaking of history.” Chapter 2, “The Essays: Reading Them as Dispersed Meditacions,” provides a detailed interpretation of those writings.
Williamson, George. The Senecan Amble: A Study in Prose from Bacon to Collier. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951. Williamson uses the essays, as well as the other prose, to examine Bacon’s style in detail, noting that Bacon considered the function of rhetoric to be the joining of imagination and reason. He considers the relationship between Bacon and the classics.Start your free trial with eNotes to access more than 30,000 study guides. Get help with any book. Francis Bacon Essays Homework Help Questions In his essay “Of Anger,” Sir Francis Bacon lists various causes or motives of anger, including the following: a “natural inclination and habit to be angry”: in other words, a tendency.
This is going to be a matter of opinion. I think that it's highly subjective to be able to argue that Bacon's works are an example of worldly wisdom. They are based on his own experience and what.
Francis Bacon’s essays now available on nominal payment.
Paragraph by paragraph explanation of the following 11 essays of Francis Bacon are now available on nominal payment of Rs.150 (Rupees one hundred and fifty) only.
Titles of the essays
1. Of Studies
2. Of Friendship
3. Of Ambition
4. Of Travel
5. Of Wisdom for a Man’s Self
6. Of Death
7. Of Anger
8. Of Marriage and Single Life
9. Of Truth
10. Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature
11. Of Envy
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Of Wisdom for a Man’s Self
Of Death by Francis Bacon
MEN fear death, as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children, is increased with tales, so is the other.
Meaning … Mortals dread death as much as children fear to venture out in darkness. Such fear is in-born, but gets accentuated when we get to hear horrific accounts woven around death, and the perils of darkness.
Certainly, the contemplation of death, as the wages of sin, and passage to another world, is holy and religious; but the fear of it, as a tribute due unto nature, is weak.
Meaning … Thinking of death is a normal trait. Thinking about with equanimity is the characteristic of a profoundly wise mind. In the same vein, worrying about the consequences of committing a sinful act is the sign of a noble mind. A holy and religious person has these traits. On the contrary, fearing death as a possible retribution of Nature is not correct. Fearing death can not be a way of acknowledging the supremacy of Nature.
Yet in religious meditations, there is sometimes mixture of vanity, and of superstition. You shall read, in some of the friars’ books of mortification, that a man should think with himself, what the pain is, if he have but his finger’s end pressed, or tortured, and thereby imagine, what the pains of death are, when the whole body is corrupted, and dissolved; when many times death passeth, with less pain than the torture of a limb; for the most vital parts, are not the quickest of sense.
Meaning … Despite adequate awareness among humans about such a folly, prayers, or similar religious practices are often underlined by a sense of futility. A lot of superstition might be intertwined with sermons and prayers. Some religious gurus or preachers ask their followers to inflict a certain minor on themselves to realize how painful inflicting pain or death on others could be to the victims. By doing this, one in impelled to experience remorse for being the cause of others suffering. One can die suffering less pain than when one’s limbs are wounded grievously. A person’s vital parts such as heart, brain, lungs, kidney etc. do not experience as much excruciating pain as a badly hurt or mauled limb.
And by him that spake only as a philosopher, and natural man, it was well said, Pompa mortis magis terret, quam mors ipsa. Groans, and convulsions, and a discolored face, and friends weeping, and blacks, and obsequies, and the like, show death terrible.
Meaning …. The pragmatist Pompa, with his deep understanding of philosophy said, “The thought of approaching death scares humans more than the death itself.” What makes the advent of death more horrifying is the dying man’s wails and groans, and the breast-beating expression of frustrations of his near and dear ones who flock to his side. Such cacophony of sorrowful voices makes death appear much more frightening than it really is.
It is worthy the observing, that there is no passion in the mind of man, so weak, but it mates, and masters, the fear of death; and therefore, death is no such terrible enemy, when a man hath so many attendants about him, that can win the combat of him.
Meaning …. Seen from a different angle, a dying man has so many near and dear ones maintaining vigil around him that he does not feel lonely, uncared for or abandoned as he bids adieu to this world. So, death brings salvation from suffering and the ravages of dotage that should bring great relief to the dying person.
Revenge triumphs over death; love slights it; honor aspireth to it; grief flieth to it; fear preoccupateth it; nay, we read, after Otho the emperor had slain himself, pity (which is the tenderest of affections) provoked many to die, out of mere compassion to their sovereign, and as the truest sort of followers.
Meaning …. When the popular emperor Otho killed himself, his subjects were devastated with grief. The wave of sympathy for the departed emperor drove some of his subjects to suicide as their burden of sorrow became unbearable. When someone takes revenge and succeeds to kill his victim, he feels he has won. Death is considered to be spiteful to love as it severs the link between the victim and the person whose heart is filled with love. Death is considered as a vindication of Honor. On the other hand, a dying man’s mind is preoccupied with the thoughts of death.
Nay, Seneca adds niceness and satiety: Cogita quamdiu eadem feceris; mori velle, non tantum fortis aut miser, sed etiam fastidiosus potest.
Meaning … Serena, the renowned philosopher said so wisely, “Think of it as long as you do; wanted to die, not only the brave or unhappy, but also it can be monotonous.” In simple language it means that one will be well-advised to think and welcome death as it brings deliverance from the life’s sorrows and sufferings. One’s life can be too monotonous to endure and in such a situation, death brings relief and peace.
A man would die, though he were neither valiant, nor miserable, only upon a weariness to do the same thing so oft, over and over.
Meaning … A man may be leading a placid uneventful life with no thrills or no excitement. It may not be courageous, nor even sorrowful. However, the drudgery and monotony of the mundane life may be too painful to endure over a long period.
It is no less worthy, to observe, how little alteration in good spirits, the approaches of death make; for they appear to be the same men, till the last instant.
Meaning … When a man stands on the doorway to death, he often welcomes it thinking that it would free him from the monotony of leading the same unchanging life day after day, seeing the same faces over and over again.
Augustus Caesar died in a compliment; Livia, conjugii nostri memor, vive et vale. Tiberius in dissimulation; as Tacitus saith of him, Jam Tiberium vires et corpus, non dissimulatio, deserebant. Vespasian in a jest, sitting upon the stool; Ut puto deus fio. Galba with a sentence; Feri, si ex re sit populi Romani; holding forth his neck. Septimius Severus in despatch; Adeste si quid mihi restat agendum. And the like.
Meaning …. Augustus Cæsar diedtriumphantly saying, “Farewell, Livia; and forget not the days of our marriage.” Looking at Augustus Cesar’s defiant words, Tiberius had exclaimed, “His (Ceaser’s) powers of body are gone, but his power to conceal his feelings still remains.” Vespasian in a jest, sitting upon the stool commented, “As I think, I am becoming a god.” Holding forth Caesar’s neck, Galba commanded, “Strike, if it be for the good of Rome.” Septimius Severus said, “Be at hand, if there is anything more for me to do.”
Certainly the Stoics bestowed too much cost upon death, and by their great preparations, made it appear more fearful.
Meaning … The Stoic philosophers attached a lot of importance to death. They made elaborate preparations to usher in death when the time came. Such preparation, however, added to the dread of death.
Better saith he, qui finem vitae extremum inter munera ponat naturae.
Meaning … Wise people used to say, “Who accounts the close of life as one of the benefits of nature.”
It is as natural to die, as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful, as the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit, is like one that is wounded in hot blood; who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt; and therefore a mind fixed, and bent upon somewhat that is good, doth avert the dolors of death.
Meaning … As Tagore had said, “Meetings and partings is the go of the world.” The cycle of birth and death is unbreakable. One has to be born: one has to die. There is no respite from this. For an infant, both the process o9f being born and dying are equally painful. A person frenetically pursuing success is too immersed in his endeavour to feel the pain of any possible hurt or injury. A valiant soldier seldom feels pain when he gets wounded in the process of fighting in the battlefield.
But, above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is’, Nunc dimittis; when a man hath obtained worthy ends, and expectations. Death hath this also; that it openeth the gate to good fame, and extinguisheth envy. – Extinctus amabitur idem.
Meaning. In conclusion, Bacon extols the virtues of valiantly pursuing and dying for a noble cause. When a man dies while engrossed in his work or in the battlefield, he attains great fame and wins a lot of adulation even from those who loathed and envied him during his lifetime.
TO SEEK to extinguish anger utterly, is but a bravery of the Stoics.
For raising and appeasing anger in another; it is done chiefly by choosing of times, when men are frowardest and worst disposed, to incense them. Again, by gathering (as was touched before) all that you can find out, to aggravate the contempt. And the two remedies are by the contraries. The former to take good times, when first to relate to a man an angry business; for the first impression is much; and the other is, to sever, as much as may be, the construction of the injury from the point of contempt; imputing it to misunderstanding, fear, passion, or what you will.
Meaning …. In conclusion, Bacon offers some practical advice. If you intend to annoy someone, or mollify him, you must be careful to select the opportune time to do so. When a man is in an awkward situation or vulnerable due to whatever reasons, it would be wise to turn on him. One must learn to garner all facts to add venom to one’s assault on the offender. The contrary way is to counter the urge for contempt by assuming that the root cause was baseless fear, ignorance, and misunderstanding.
Of Truth -Line by line meaning
WHAT is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.
Meaning … Here Francis Bacon refers to Pontius Pilate, who occupied a position of influence in the Emperor Tiberius’s court. For his involvement in the persecution of Jesus Christ, Pilate was not looked upon favourably by Christians. He enjoyed a somewhat sullied reputation. Here Bacon takes Pilate’s name to express how humans, in general, avoid Truth. They find Truth inconvenient and difficult to imbibe.
Certainly there be that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting.
Meaning. People do not seek Truth, and enjoy resorting to falsehood and lies. People like ambiguity. and inaccuracy, so that they can couch the harshness of Truth in convenient language.
And though the sects of philosophers, of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients.
Meaning …. Bacon goes back to the ancient Greek philosophers, who often lost their way while looking to ascertain what really ‘truth’ was. He laments the fact that some of these independent-minded, free-thinking philosophers proposed that there was nothing real as ‘truth’. But, while trying to prove the contrary, they soon wavered, and came out with conflicting decisions. These types of thinkers have all but ceased to exist. The present day ones lack the rigor and verve of the ancient great minds. They are paler versions of their illustrious predecessors. Nevertheless, they, too, doubt the existence of truth, and tend to drift towards falsehood.
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 imposeth upon men’s thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor; but a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself.
Meaning … Undoubtedly, people do make very sincere and strenuous attempts to discover ‘truth’. They succeed, but regrettably, they find the burden and demands of ‘truth’ to be unbearable. Expediently, they abandon the pursuit of ‘truth’, and drift towards ‘lies’ knowingly very well that resorting to ‘lies’ is degrading. The world of ‘lies’ is dark, but people, somehow’ develop a fascination for lies at the expense of truth.
One of the later school of the Grecians examineth the matter and is at a stand to think what should be in it, that men should love lies, where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets, nor for advantage, as with the merchant; but for the lie’s sake.
Meaning …Some Greek philosophers of later periods delved in to this matter. They tried to know why and what attracts people towards ‘lies’. In poetry, some distortion of truth adds to a poem’s literary beauty. So allowance needs to be made to accommodate fantasy and fiction as they enhance the readers’ literary pleasure. Merchants and traders resort to a certain amount of falsehood to entice the customers to buy their merchandize. But, why do common folks resort to lies despite knowing its unsavoury consequences.
But I cannot tell; this same truth is a naked and open day-light, that doth not show the masks and mummeries and triumphs of the world, half so stately and daintily as candle-lights.
Meaning. ‘Truth’ depicts everything very honestly, faithfully and transparently. There is no place for extravagant praise or derision, superficial description or sycophantic eulogy in ‘’ truth’. Emperors, heroes, military commanders and other men and women of prominence are described with the minimum laudatory language. Truth builds no artificial aura of greatness around them. So, bereft of their unrealistic praise, they appear vastly diminished in stature.
Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights.
Meaning … A pearl shines in the day. A diamond or a carbuncle glow at night giving an unreal feeling of light in the midst of total darkness. ‘Truth’ is like a pearl. It shows what is visible to the naked eye. It can’t show anything by lighting up something unrealistically. Only ‘falsehood’ has that capacity to make something apparent in total darkness.
A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men’s minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves?
Meaning … A cocktail of lies and truth has the potency to please humans more than only lies or only truth. Bacon, paradoxically, suggests the utility of such combination of lies and truth. If everything is portrayed in their true colours with no addition of superficial praise, flaterring comments and allusions, the society will appear drab and indolent. Vanity and aggrandizement induce creativity, energy and intellectual activity. For example, if a poet is not felicitated or a player is not rewarded, how will they be motivated to reach higher levels of accomplishments? While showering praise, use of a certain amount of unreal description of one’s feat is needed. Otherwise, the praise will be bland and ineffective.
One of the fathers, in great severity, called poesy vinum dæmonum [devils’-wine], because it filleth the imagination; and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in and settleth in it, that doth the hurt; such as we spake of before.
Meaning. Some very revered men of great wisdom denigrated poetry saying it contained lies. They felt, the poet adds fiction, exaggerations, allusions etc. to his poem to impart it some charm and attraction for the reader. Bacon says, most of these lies actually may not stay permanently in the mind of the reader. However, a part of such falsehood does get embedded in the reader’s mind impairing the sense of the readers. This could indeed be a sad consequence of reading poetry.
But howsoever these things are thus in men’s depraved judgments and affections, yet 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.
Meaning. So, lies, undoubtedly, deprave the mind. Truth, on the other hand, remains unblemished always. It is absolute and does not lend itself to differing interpretations. Inquiry of truth is a romantic pursuit that demands indulgence of the pursuer. Knowledge of truth means owning this unique gift. When one reposes absolute faith in truth, the feeling becomes very enjoyable. It symbolizes the ultimate good of human nature.
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. First he breathed light upon the face of the matter or chaos; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen.
Meaning. When God created the world, He gave the light of sense to the mankind. Using this, human beings could see and feel the world around them. Then God gave the power of reason. Using this, human beings could reason what was good or bad in the things happening pr being said around them. As a result, human beings got the power of enlightenment. After this, God radiated light that illuminated the world which was so disorderly then. Then His light fell on human beings to make them superior in knowledge and wisdom to other species. After this, He focused his kindly light on the face of those human beings whom He loved most.
The poet that beautified the sect that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well: It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore and to see ships tossed upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle and to see a battle and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene), and to see the errors and wanderings and mists and tempests in the vale below; so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. 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.
Meaning. When one stands in the sea beach and gets to see ships being rocked violently by the winds, it becomes a breath-taking experience. In the same way, one can stand by the window of a high castle and watch the fight raging below. This also is a unique experience. In the same way, when a human being can realize truth, he can feel as if he stands atop a high mountain enjoying its beauty and bliss. But attaining such an exalted status must not make the man to feel proud. Instead, he should be humble, and benign towards others. He should engage in charity.
To pass from theological and philosophical truth to the truth of civil business; it will be acknowledged even by those that practise it not, that clear and round dealing is the honor of man’s nature; and that mixture of falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet. There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious. And therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace and such an odious charge.
Meaning … Theosophical and philosophical truth belong to a certain domain. While dealing with our day-to-day mundane matters, one finds it difficult to stick to the truth always. To make his business and dealings smoother, he mixes some lies to his dealings. This, at times, appears to be a practical necessity. Although, he might succeed and emerge a winner, such conduct is vile and degrading. It is like an alloy where a foreign element is added in small quantities to a metal like gold and silver to give it more strength and toughness. However, such alloying robs the silver or gold of its luster. It is like a snake that moves on its belly always, and can never stand up erect and upright. This is why, eminent men like Montaigne declared that falsehood was universally degrading and loathsome.
Saith he, If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much to say, as that he is brave towards God and a coward towards men. For a lie faces God, and shrinks from man. Surely the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men; it being foretold that when Christ cometh, he shall not find faith upon the earth.
Meaning. When analyzed deeply, he said, it means that a person who lies is afraid of ordinary mortals and has the temerity to face God. He is a lowly soul bereft of any wisdom or intellectual heft. When the Day of the Judgment arrives, a person who has lied all his life, can not face God, and will be punished for his guilt. It has been said that gradual erosion of moral values in the world will slowly drag the earth to a state where ‘Faith’ ceases to exist.