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One of the major political figures of his time, Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) served in the court of Elizabeth I and ultimately became Lord Chancellor under James I in 1617. A scholar, wit, lawyer and statesman, he wrote widely on politics, philosophy and science - declaring early in his career that 'I have taken all knowledge as my province'. In this, his most famous work One of the major political figures of his time, Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) served in the court of Elizabeth I and ultimately became Lord Chancellor under James I in 1617. A scholar, wit, lawyer and statesman, he wrote widely on politics, philosophy and science - declaring early in his career that 'I have taken all knowledge as my province'. In this, his most famous work, he considers a diverse range of subjects, such as death and marriage, ambition and atheism, in prose that is vibrant and rich in Renaissance learning. Bacon believed that rhetoric - the force of eloquence and persuasion - could lead the mind to the pure light of reason, and his own rhetorical genius is nowhere better expressed than in these vivid essays.


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One of the major political figures of his time, Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) served in the court of Elizabeth I and ultimately became Lord Chancellor under James I in 1617. A scholar, wit, lawyer and statesman, he wrote widely on politics, philosophy and science - declaring early in his career that 'I have taken all knowledge as my province'. In this, his most famous work One of the major political figures of his time, Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) served in the court of Elizabeth I and ultimately became Lord Chancellor under James I in 1617. A scholar, wit, lawyer and statesman, he wrote widely on politics, philosophy and science - declaring early in his career that 'I have taken all knowledge as my province'. In this, his most famous work, he considers a diverse range of subjects, such as death and marriage, ambition and atheism, in prose that is vibrant and rich in Renaissance learning. Bacon believed that rhetoric - the force of eloquence and persuasion - could lead the mind to the pure light of reason, and his own rhetorical genius is nowhere better expressed than in these vivid essays.

30 review for The Essays

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alok Mishra

    Bacon was not an ordinary writer that we used to find and still do. He was exceptional with his abilities to convey ideas. Sometimes his logic might seem absurd to the readers. Sometimes the author's ideas might not make any sense at all. However, there are many things about his essays (and that's proven because we still discuss these) which sets him apart. Practical philosopher, he dealt more in ideas which could be 'useful' for the world rather than 'ideal'. Bacon was not an ordinary writer that we used to find and still do. He was exceptional with his abilities to convey ideas. Sometimes his logic might seem absurd to the readers. Sometimes the author's ideas might not make any sense at all. However, there are many things about his essays (and that's proven because we still discuss these) which sets him apart. Practical philosopher, he dealt more in ideas which could be 'useful' for the world rather than 'ideal'.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amit Mishra

    Both in his life and in his writings Bacon always showed the practical bias. He completely accepted the Renaissance idea that it is life on earth which is important and that all studies should be directed to improving that life. In his political attitude, which was almost Machiavellian, he separated his legal decisions from morality and ethical ideas; in his scientific writings he aimed to give mankind mastery over nature by discoveries and inventions; in his essays, he hoped to teach man master Both in his life and in his writings Bacon always showed the practical bias. He completely accepted the Renaissance idea that it is life on earth which is important and that all studies should be directed to improving that life. In his political attitude, which was almost Machiavellian, he separated his legal decisions from morality and ethical ideas; in his scientific writings he aimed to give mankind mastery over nature by discoveries and inventions; in his essays, he hoped to teach man mastery over the world in social and civil life. His essays are scientific, which make one of the most important figures in the philosophy of science.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    Bacon, an Elizabethan legal and government counselor and a scholar, wrote these enduring essays at the tail end of the 16th century. So of what practical use could they possibly be now at the start of the 21st century? From his essay “On Unity” there is this observation, “But it is greater blasphemy to personate God and bring Him in saying, I will descend and be like the prince of darkness.” You listening, Pat Robertson? Osama bin Laden? Or, from “On Suspicion,” this, “There is nothing that make Bacon, an Elizabethan legal and government counselor and a scholar, wrote these enduring essays at the tail end of the 16th century. So of what practical use could they possibly be now at the start of the 21st century? From his essay “On Unity” there is this observation, “But it is greater blasphemy to personate God and bring Him in saying, I will descend and be like the prince of darkness.” You listening, Pat Robertson? Osama bin Laden? Or, from “On Suspicion,” this, “There is nothing that makes a man suspect much, more than to know little.” State school boards and their lobbyists in Kansas and Texas anyone? Then there is just generally astute stuff: “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” Or, “The virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude; which in morals is the more heroical virtue…for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.” Or, “This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.” Or, “He that questioneth much shall learn much.” And if you were wondering how Shakespeare wrote all those plays without the education that Francis Bacon had: “A man that is young in years may be old in hours, if he has lost no time…the invention of young men is more lively than that of old, and imaginations stream into their minds better, and as if it were divinely inspired.” Shakespeare began his career young in years but old in hours as have many select others over the centuries who have managed to acquire a level of knowledge and understanding that seems beyond their years and formal education and couple it to an imagination that sees this rapidly assumed world fresh. Bacon didn’t write Shakespeare, Shakespeare did. But reading these essays you can see why some might think so, there is both wisdom and poetry in his prose. Bacon, old in hours and gone for many, many long years, endures because his work remains fresh and provocative and useful still.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mike W

    This is a very good book, if not a great one. These essays lack the easy-going charm of Montaigne's and the locquacious eloquence of Emerson's. They ramble, and much of what they contain will hold little interest for the typical modern reader. And yet, they contain a great deal of wisdom, typically expressed as pithy epigrams amid these otherwise rambling discourses. For instance: "He that have wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either This is a very good book, if not a great one. These essays lack the easy-going charm of Montaigne's and the locquacious eloquence of Emerson's. They ramble, and much of what they contain will hold little interest for the typical modern reader. And yet, they contain a great deal of wisdom, typically expressed as pithy epigrams amid these otherwise rambling discourses. For instance: "He that have wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief." "There was never proud man thought so absurdly well of himself, as the lover doth of the person loved; and therefore it was well said that it is impossible to love, and to be wise." "It is a strange desire, to seek power and to lose liberty: or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man's self. The rising unto place is laborious; and by pains, men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base; and by indignities, men come to dignities." "It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth a man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion." In reading Bacon, one feels as if one is sitting in an armchair with a brandy, listening to an old uncle who has seen and experienced much in life, telling stories and imparting his wisdom amid sundry digressions. He seems to have been a believing Christian, but he was impatient with the erudite ratiocination of the medieval "Schoolmen" and their idolization of Aristotle. He was practical and empirical in his thinking, and his ethical views show the influence of both the ancient philosopher--Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics--as well as the crafty and skeptical Machiavelli. "Some books" he wrote " are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." Surely this book is in the last category. It requires patience, but rewards the patient reader with mature wisdom.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Coyote_gene

    This book has only stayed it's popularity due to establishment hubris. Just because Bacon was so influential to thinkers of his time, does not mean his essays provide much in to modern day intellectuals. I found these essays tiresome. It's merely his two cents about subjects in his contemporary time. Sure it may lead great insights historically speaking. As an observer of his own time he states plainly what he sees in his own society and how he finds flaw with the status quo, yet I don't find hi This book has only stayed it's popularity due to establishment hubris. Just because Bacon was so influential to thinkers of his time, does not mean his essays provide much in to modern day intellectuals. I found these essays tiresome. It's merely his two cents about subjects in his contemporary time. Sure it may lead great insights historically speaking. As an observer of his own time he states plainly what he sees in his own society and how he finds flaw with the status quo, yet I don't find his observations even that wise or insightful. I really am puzzled how this man has continued his long journey as a centerpiece of study for our western scholars. This book was oh so boring and I am not easily bored. I gave three stars because he does deserve credit. Bacon was one of the first during his time to sit back and say, "Hey now, let's think this over, maybe we can do things better." And he gave rise to the scientific mindset of observing to learn. If not for that I would only give two on the basis that he writes well and does have coherent thoughts penned on his pages. Come on though people, he was a 16th/17th century Englishman, his opinions are not exactly to be revered above other thinkers of ANY time really....and y'know just to spite that fact, I'm demoting him back down to two stars like before.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Asim Bakhshi

    It is extremely difficult to establish an opinion on Bacon's philosophy by indulging with his ramblings, which are at times profoundly astute and at times on the verge of vacuity. Among my favourites are the ones on atheism, studies, nature of men and cunning. Overall, I came to like Bacon's informal rhetoric but nothing in comparison to elegance of someone like Montaigne. To borrow from Bacon's himself, this is not the text to be chewed and digested but tasted in parts or whole. It is extremely difficult to establish an opinion on Bacon's philosophy by indulging with his ramblings, which are at times profoundly astute and at times on the verge of vacuity. Among my favourites are the ones on atheism, studies, nature of men and cunning. Overall, I came to like Bacon's informal rhetoric but nothing in comparison to elegance of someone like Montaigne. To borrow from Bacon's himself, this is not the text to be chewed and digested but tasted in parts or whole.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    This was another book that I listened to the LibriVox audio version of. I liked most of the essays, the only one that got a little weird to me was the one about gardens. Lots of philosophical thoughts about interesting topics and then, all of a sudden, which flowers he thinks should be in gardens during which months of the year.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bekhradaa

    1 God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because his ordinary work convince it. it is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men;s minds about to religion 1 God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because his ordinary work convince it. it is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men;s minds about to religion

  9. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    Sir Francis Bacon was one of the greatest legal minds of the Elizabethan Era. His works are a great overview of the era's thinking and philosophical theoretical framework. His essays were probably the beginnings of methodology for scientific inquiry, leading Voltaire to refer to Sir Francis Bacon as the "father of scientific method". Bacon's rejection of metaphysics gained favour with enlightened authors in the 18th century, including, perhaps of greater importance, Thomas Jefferson who largely Sir Francis Bacon was one of the greatest legal minds of the Elizabethan Era. His works are a great overview of the era's thinking and philosophical theoretical framework. His essays were probably the beginnings of methodology for scientific inquiry, leading Voltaire to refer to Sir Francis Bacon as the "father of scientific method". Bacon's rejection of metaphysics gained favour with enlightened authors in the 18th century, including, perhaps of greater importance, Thomas Jefferson who largely authored the US declaration of Independence. Bacon himself had an interesting life. And one that was enmeshed to the Court of Queen Elizabeth I and its gossips and historic moments. He shows in this piece a large influence by Seneca and Tacitus. Along with Machiavelli. And thus we can see in this man, who became the Attorney General of King James I, one of the Western Jurisprudence founders. And one that brought in the importance of Greek thinkers to the Common Law. I think this book is difficult to read. The many latin references make it a dry read but understandable for an intellectual work of the 16th Century. I give it 4 stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marts (Thinker)

    In 'Essays', Francis Bacon focuses on a range of topics of a philosophical nature encompassing Truth, Death, Religion, Atheism, Travel, the Supernatural, Council, Envy, etc. On Council he says, 'the greatest trust between man and man is the trust of giving council'. Of Envy he speaks of envy being 'an affection to both facinate and bewitch' he goes on to speak of it 'coming easily to the eye especially upon the presence of the object'. On Atheism he speaks about 'this universal frame' possessing a In 'Essays', Francis Bacon focuses on a range of topics of a philosophical nature encompassing Truth, Death, Religion, Atheism, Travel, the Supernatural, Council, Envy, etc. On Council he says, 'the greatest trust between man and man is the trust of giving council'. Of Envy he speaks of envy being 'an affection to both facinate and bewitch' he goes on to speak of it 'coming easily to the eye especially upon the presence of the object'. On Atheism he speaks about 'this universal frame' possessing a mind. The text is logical and pragmatic in nature.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vijai

    I admit defeat and I do so with a pinch of pain and regret. So much wisdom in those pages and yet not appealing in taste enough for me to finish it. The prose is way too complex and hard for a noob (I can sense the purists twitching at that word) like me to understand. Not worth the effort. Maybe an edition with superb annotation and notes would do the trick but until then I rest this book in the darkest corner of my book shelf with as much reverence and respect I can offer it until that day whe I admit defeat and I do so with a pinch of pain and regret. So much wisdom in those pages and yet not appealing in taste enough for me to finish it. The prose is way too complex and hard for a noob (I can sense the purists twitching at that word) like me to understand. Not worth the effort. Maybe an edition with superb annotation and notes would do the trick but until then I rest this book in the darkest corner of my book shelf with as much reverence and respect I can offer it until that day when my patience would allow me the inspiration to absorb what Bacon has to say.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pritam Chattopadhyay

    Francis Bacon, the historian, a political and moral thinker, a scientific thinker and a philosophical thinker, whom Alexander Pope described as "the wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind," was the foremost English prose writer. In reality, as Douglas Bush opined Francis was "the theoretical and practical leader of the anti-Ciceronian movement in England." He is best known for his Essays and is indeed the father of English essays. He imported in English prose 'a new sense of precision and clarity Francis Bacon, the historian, a political and moral thinker, a scientific thinker and a philosophical thinker, whom Alexander Pope described as "the wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind," was the foremost English prose writer. In reality, as Douglas Bush opined Francis was "the theoretical and practical leader of the anti-Ciceronian movement in England." He is best known for his Essays and is indeed the father of English essays. He imported in English prose 'a new sense of precision and clarity' which remained hitherto unknown as well as for "Sheer mass of intellect he remains till now the greatest" of English essayists. While writing these Essays Bacon was influenced by various sources: First of all Bacon was greatly influenced by Bible. To illustrate his precepts Bacon often quoted from Vulgate, the Latin version of the Bible. It is interesting to note that though the English version of the Bible, which is considered the most-Authorised Version, was published in 1611, just a year before the Second Edition of his Essays was published, Bacon nowhere quoted from this authorised version. Instead, wherever he found parallel situation in the Latin, edition of the Bible, the Vulgate, he not only recurrently quoted from that but also allowed his own thought to be governed by that. Of course in some places he took the freedom to change the context and this in due course resulted some misquotes or mistranslations when he referred to the Bible. Not only the Bible, the Greek and Roman history, the Greek and Roman mythology, the Greek and Roman literature, especially the works of Greek and Roman historians and philosophers similarly had influenced his ideas. Of course, like all the Renaissance scholars Bacon too was more au fait with the Latin authorities than the Greeks. The moral writers of classical antiquity like Seneca and Lucian, biographers like Plutarch and Suetonus, historians like Livyan Tacitus, critics like Cicero and Pliny, Philosophers like Plato and Aristotle"-all delighted him most and often tried to recast their ideas in his own works. The Essays of Francis Bacon were published in three successive editions, in 1597, in 1612 and in 1625 respectively. Bacon himself had described his essays as "dispersed meditations", as "brief notes set down rather significantly than curiously", as "a receptacle for detached thoughts." It is true, most of his essays are mere note books, simply jotted down to get good ideas or some quickly and briefly noted observations, lest they are forgotten. Some of his earlier essays, read like maxims, mere strings of sentences, not developed and linked together. Bacon, however, never swung away from his central theme; neither had he ever included any irrelevant matter. Yet Bacon's essays are not "well-knit" compositions having systematic development or evolvement of one thought or idea to the other. He puts his ideas together almost at random as they occurred yet making no digression from the central subject without making any detailed discussion of the subject he simply went on jotting down his ideas and thoughts into black and white lines. What is more interesting is that for the sake of brevity and condensation he often left out the most essential conjunctions and several other logical connections, and this he made intentionally. The result was that his essays remained brief in length and full of crisp, short and pithy in expression sentences, mere jottings of undeveloped ideas. He condensed the sentences so much so that one could easily write a paragraph to develop what Bacon said in only one sentence. Hugh Walker was absolutely right when he said that Bacon's essays read like running analysis of paragraphs. He never treated the subject fully but merely expressed his ideas in few lines, nay, words, and swiftly passed on to the next idea and expressed that with equally terse terms. That Bacon's essays read like a wonderful string of aphorism and maxims can best be illustrated by his essay "Of Studies". Bacon started his essay with the statement: "Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring, for ornament, is in discourse, and for ability, is in the judgement and disposition of business." Thus Bacon told us that studies serve three purposes: it delights us, it add to our ability, it makes man's personality charming. He told us not to make great shows of studies, because meaningless vain studies may develop our natural qualities but cannot develop our natural faculties. If studies do not improve wisdom it is absolutely meaningless, useless. There are different kinds of books but are all they equally worthy? No, surely not. Some of the books must be read hurriedly and there are some books which must be read thoroughly with great patience. These books are no doubt important books. And what should we do with the unimportant books? They are just to be read in summaries. He wrote: "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others." Why should we read some books with so much care and diligence? He answered himself and said "distilled books are like common distilled" waters, flashy things." Different people think differently of studies. Bacon wrote: "Crafty men condemn studies; simple men admire them; and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use, but that is wisdom without them and above them, won by observation." Truly people with less education dislike studies as something useless while the simple men admire studies. It is only the wise men who can make the best use of studies. Bacon warned us that we must learn how to make a proper use of our studies. We must not read to oppose the ideas of others neither should we take what we read as granted or believe in them blindly, for should we study for mere discussion or tea-table talk. Rather we must use our studies to judge things properly and to consider them in proper light. Greater learning develops the inner faculties or qualities of human being. Through reading a man becomes well informed. Conversations increase his ready wit and help him to reply quickly to any question. It is writing only that makes him accurate and to the point in his knowledge. How wonderfully Bacon expressed his idea when he wrote-"Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man." Then Bacon pointed out the importance and utility of different subjects, like history which makes man wise, poetry that makes man witty, mathematics- a subtle philosopher, ethics -a grave man... logic and rhetoric to make discussions skilfully." The very feeling of satiety is driven away by the peculiar style that Bacon followed in writing his Essays and this has enhanced the reader's interest to read his essays. Bacon's style is essentially anti-Ciceronian and modelled on Tacitus and Lipsius. In fact Bacon's contemporaries like Hooker or Lyly were fond of following the highly organised and ornate "Ciceronian" style which Bacon disliked and hence drew his style as a reaction against them. "In its lack of organisation and its directness it approaches conversational informality." The lack of connectiveness in Bacon's prose-style keeps the readers on the tip-toe of expectation and excitement. Lily made excessive ornamentation; Hooker's prolixity and Sidney's profusion of colour and music virtually satiates us. But we are never satiated with Bacon as we have the impression that Bacon hold back much more than what he told us. We never felt Bacon repetitive. Bacon was a dedicated reader of the Book of Proverbs in the Bible in particular and of the Bible in general. This made his approach proverbial. He munificently punctuated his essays with quotations of apposite proverbs' mainly from the Bible and from several other European countries like France, Spain and Italy. Frequent use of the figures of speech, predominantly similes and metaphors enriched his style and made him unparalleled. This collection is a stroke of genius, and a must read for every student of English.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    In the introduction, Pitcher draws a distinction with Cicero by saying, “where Cicero had devised his system for judicial oratory, Bacon wanted to take in everything. All topics were to be studied and prepared beforehand, in the form of a debate, with the case ‘exaggerated both ways with the utmost force of wit, and urged unfairly, as it were, and quite beyond the truth.’” Each of the essays is wonderful. Bacon is amongst the most quotable writers of all time, much like Cicero. While the time an In the introduction, Pitcher draws a distinction with Cicero by saying, “where Cicero had devised his system for judicial oratory, Bacon wanted to take in everything. All topics were to be studied and prepared beforehand, in the form of a debate, with the case ‘exaggerated both ways with the utmost force of wit, and urged unfairly, as it were, and quite beyond the truth.’” Each of the essays is wonderful. Bacon is amongst the most quotable writers of all time, much like Cicero. While the time and place of many of the essays has long past, the wisdom that can be extracted by statements included in them is timeless. My favorites are the following: From “Of Great Place” – “Use the memory of thy predecessor fairly and tenderly; for if thou dost not, it is a debt will sure be paid when thou art gone. If thou have colleagues, respect them, and rather call them when they look not for it, than exclude them when they have reason to look to be called. Be not too sensible or too remembering of thy place in conversation and private answers to suitors; but let it rather be said, When he sits in place, he is another man.” (93) From “Of Atheism” – “I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind. And therefore God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it.” (108) From “Of Delays” – “Fortune is like the market; where many times, if you can stay a little, the price will fall.” (125) From “Of Expense” – “A man ought warily to begin charges which once begun will continue; but in matters that return not he may be more magnificent.” (146) From Virgil’s Eclogues – “It never troubles a wolf how many the sheep be.” (148) From “Of Beauty” – Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set” (189) From “Of Beauty” – “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 light well, it maketh virtues shine, and vices blush.” (190) From “Of Studies” – “Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.” (209) From “Of Ceremonies and Respects” – “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. Men’s behavior should be like their apparel, not too strait or point device, but free for exercise or motion.” (214) “Money is like manure, its only good if you spread it around.” “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” “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.” “A Man must make his opportunity,as oft as find it.” “The virtue of prosperity is temperance, the virtue of adversity is fortitude.” See my other reviews here!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alex Kartelias

    By far my favorite essay of his is on friendship, whereby he explains friendship is not just something which serves as support, but for alchemical transmutation of one's suffering and narrowness of sight. Regardless of whether one believes in the Rosicrucian and Shakespearean atmosphere in Bacon's writings and legacy- in particular in his, "New Atlantis"- it has to be acknowledged that he gave Renaissance to scientific induction while asserting the philosophical and ethical necessity of also hav By far my favorite essay of his is on friendship, whereby he explains friendship is not just something which serves as support, but for alchemical transmutation of one's suffering and narrowness of sight. Regardless of whether one believes in the Rosicrucian and Shakespearean atmosphere in Bacon's writings and legacy- in particular in his, "New Atlantis"- it has to be acknowledged that he gave Renaissance to scientific induction while asserting the philosophical and ethical necessity of also having one's connection to the Sacred. A great mind.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David Campbell

    Intellectual sampling of the mind that set England and the world on philosophical course towards scientific method and revolution by ruthlessly brilliant (and utterly ruthless) Elizabethan lawyer Sir Francis Bacon. Utilized the then rather new ‘essai’ (French for ‘trial’) format pioneered by Aquitaine statesman Lord Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) to snapshot a view of the world that (like some aspects of modern science) teems with the spirit of a cold, hard observer making cold, hard decisions Intellectual sampling of the mind that set England and the world on philosophical course towards scientific method and revolution by ruthlessly brilliant (and utterly ruthless) Elizabethan lawyer Sir Francis Bacon. Utilized the then rather new ‘essai’ (French for ‘trial’) format pioneered by Aquitaine statesman Lord Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) to snapshot a view of the world that (like some aspects of modern science) teems with the spirit of a cold, hard observer making cold, hard decisions based on the cold, hard facts.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael O'Brien

    A good book --- it was a compendium of the best wisdom of a sophisticated 17th Century man on a wide variety of topics such as government, negotiations, and diplomacy. Thomas Jefferson, also a great genius, listed Sir Francis Bacon, the author of "The Essays", as one of the three men he most admired, and, in his public service and political acts, one can see Bacon's influence one they read this book. A good book --- it was a compendium of the best wisdom of a sophisticated 17th Century man on a wide variety of topics such as government, negotiations, and diplomacy. Thomas Jefferson, also a great genius, listed Sir Francis Bacon, the author of "The Essays", as one of the three men he most admired, and, in his public service and political acts, one can see Bacon's influence one they read this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rob Roy

    Conventional wisdom says that if it was written more than 300 years ago, it really cannot tell us much. Not so! Bacon’s essays are as fresh and pointed today as when written. There is much wisdom and life lessons contained in these 58 essays. Add to that, they are fairly short and to the point.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Purvi Petal

    Excellent writing, as per the requirement of the times, yet to date, I am deeply impression-ed by some of his words and works, esp gems like 'Of Travel'. Read them during my college years. One must read them, these essays, if for nothing else, then for the pleasure of the language and wisdom of a bygone era. Excellent writing, as per the requirement of the times, yet to date, I am deeply impression-ed by some of his words and works, esp gems like 'Of Travel'. Read them during my college years. One must read them, these essays, if for nothing else, then for the pleasure of the language and wisdom of a bygone era.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Class assignment. Pragmatic, straightforward. I appreciate his skillful manipulation of words, but it wasn't "fun" reading. Some essays are very insightful. However, his discourse on the make up of gardens was a bit much for me. Class assignment. Pragmatic, straightforward. I appreciate his skillful manipulation of words, but it wasn't "fun" reading. Some essays are very insightful. However, his discourse on the make up of gardens was a bit much for me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    I very much enjoyed this translation and presentation. "There is nothing new under the sun ..." but Bacon has an excellent ability to categorize, perceive and sumnarize everyday natures. I did often wish my Kindle had a Latin translator ... because there is also a lot of Latin worth translating. I very much enjoyed this translation and presentation. "There is nothing new under the sun ..." but Bacon has an excellent ability to categorize, perceive and sumnarize everyday natures. I did often wish my Kindle had a Latin translator ... because there is also a lot of Latin worth translating.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tg

    Bacon does a great job of using wit, Religious Mythology, and Greek Mythology to illuminate his truth. I particularly like his essay of Atheism---this even shows hints of the Divine by the so-called non-believer

  22. 4 out of 5

    James Henderson

    Classic essays on a variety of subjects. They are worth reading and rereading. See "Of Studies" for good counsel on reading. Classic essays on a variety of subjects. They are worth reading and rereading. See "Of Studies" for good counsel on reading.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sam Macalus

    While not exactly a “page turner,” there are flashes of beneficial insight in the “Father of Empiricism’s” systematic catalog of 59 categories pertaining to the human experience. Several could be noted. I found “Of Studies” to be particularly meaningful, with its classic quotation “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” I also appreciated Bacon’s approach to the role of the Judiciary in “Of Judicature,” noting its responsibility to interpret While not exactly a “page turner,” there are flashes of beneficial insight in the “Father of Empiricism’s” systematic catalog of 59 categories pertaining to the human experience. Several could be noted. I found “Of Studies” to be particularly meaningful, with its classic quotation “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” I also appreciated Bacon’s approach to the role of the Judiciary in “Of Judicature,” noting its responsibility to interpret law rather than to make law and its responsibility to be gracious with the people over which it presides. That stated, at times the subject matter was rambling and pompous to a fault (clearly used for “ornamentation” rather than meaningful exposition). Given the relatively dry nature of this dispassionate catalog of essays, I recommend tasting the collection of essays as part of a philosophical sampling among others rather than chewing and digesting, unless guided by some commentary or deeper colorful insight. As far as catalogs of this nature are concerned, try Aurelius’s Golden Sayings as a more readable, yet similarly minded categorization of the nature of human experience.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Chad Newton, PhD-HRD

    The Essays in this edition contain the old English language which can cause confusion for readers inexperienced with words such as doth, whither, hence, causeth, whence, thither, and doeth. The King James Bible contained the same English type which was common in Europe during the reign of King James I. The essay that I found most insightful was the essay on usury. Each essay contains a length of about 2-5 pages. This collection might be useful for a case study on leadership styles during the Ref The Essays in this edition contain the old English language which can cause confusion for readers inexperienced with words such as doth, whither, hence, causeth, whence, thither, and doeth. The King James Bible contained the same English type which was common in Europe during the reign of King James I. The essay that I found most insightful was the essay on usury. Each essay contains a length of about 2-5 pages. This collection might be useful for a case study on leadership styles during the Reformation period when Bacon performed legal services in the high courtroom. The essay I found least useful was the one on gardening because it merely listed flower types and contributed little to the studies of morals, civility, ethics, or economics.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Bateman

    Less revealing than near-contemporary Montaigne's much livelier essays about the "subject of himself," yet nevertheless written with care, concision, and the insight of someone who has occupied a variety of high offices and suffered a number of reversals owing to faction, connivance, personal avarice, etc. Some of the material is of little more than historical interest ("Of Plantations," "Of Masques and Triumphs," "Of Gardens"), but even those sections are colorful. Other pieces ("Of Truth," "Of Less revealing than near-contemporary Montaigne's much livelier essays about the "subject of himself," yet nevertheless written with care, concision, and the insight of someone who has occupied a variety of high offices and suffered a number of reversals owing to faction, connivance, personal avarice, etc. Some of the material is of little more than historical interest ("Of Plantations," "Of Masques and Triumphs," "Of Gardens"), but even those sections are colorful. Other pieces ("Of Truth," "Of Parents and Children," "Of Wisdom," "Of Friendship, "Of Marriage and the Single Life," with "Of Cunning" as the real standout) are timeless, and pack a great deal of content into 700-1000 words (don't worry: it's slow going, owing to Bacon's obsession with precision and his at times dated albeit fascinating diction). The cheap-as-free Dover edition, which I believe is the edition listed here, has a decent intro from one "Oliphant Smeaton" (what a moniker!) and a glossary + Latin translations at the back of the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ana Pau

    I read some essays for a class (not the whole thing). I found them pretty interesting. I also think it's funny how he kind of copied Montaigne's new genre but redefined it according to his ideas of law and order. All in all, a basic when it comes to essay history (and the English sixteenth century). I read some essays for a class (not the whole thing). I found them pretty interesting. I also think it's funny how he kind of copied Montaigne's new genre but redefined it according to his ideas of law and order. All in all, a basic when it comes to essay history (and the English sixteenth century).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Amar

    Perusing Bacon’s Essays, Civil and Moral puts me in mind of a few trains of thought I’ve boarded over the years, concerning the nature of reading. The idea that returns to me most forcibly, perhaps because I only formulated it recently (and we are so fickle that it is ever our most recent constructions that live most lively within us), is a broad distinction between modernity and all the earlier history of literature, in terms of the use of universals. The thesis can be put pretty simply: in old Perusing Bacon’s Essays, Civil and Moral puts me in mind of a few trains of thought I’ve boarded over the years, concerning the nature of reading. The idea that returns to me most forcibly, perhaps because I only formulated it recently (and we are so fickle that it is ever our most recent constructions that live most lively within us), is a broad distinction between modernity and all the earlier history of literature, in terms of the use of universals. The thesis can be put pretty simply: in olden times, writing was done with a view to the unveiling of universals, broad generalities applicable to any historical moment, such as God, Love, Life, etc. For those of us who contemn superstitions, chakras, and horoscopes, the continual centuries-long interest in such concepts can seem hokey, or simply beside the point. For myself, and others like me, who look on history not as a progressive unveiling of truths, or a degeneration from truth, but as a shifting landscape of discoveries, new ideas, fabrications, reconfigurations, the concern with grand concepts is itself a mere historical fact, susceptible of analysis in particular terms. Modernism, by contrast, is often characterized by a lack of interest in universals. Joyce, for instance, who straddled the acme of modernism, writes minutely about particulars: modernism in a Joycean sense (and there are many writers, both before and after Joyce, who practiced it), means, in fact, an analysis of modernity which disavows the search after grand truths. Modernism is often meta, self-referential: because it takes even itself as a figment of the historical moment. It is often ironic: because it has to be. It belittles itself and its subject out of its antipathy to the earlier standards of artistic loftiness. There are of course exceptions, classic writers of the particular, and modernists concerned with the universal. Take T.S. Eliot, Joyce’s foil, as an instance. He bursts on the scene with Prufrock, an edgy poem about interior life in the modern world. But as Eliot’s career advances, he begins to sidle into projects like the Four Quartets, which while formally very modern, are retrograde and universal in their contents: he achieves something like the translation into words of a Kandinsky painting. As an individual reader, you may choose to humor him, and find the beauty of the poem; but the effect is oddly mixed. As for classic writers of the particular, they may be a little more difficult to find. If anybody has any ideas, I’d be interested to hear them. The problem is that so much of literature takes the particular as a road into the universal. The historians of antiquity were so often interested in demonstrating the ideas of progress or regress: Herodotus and Thucydides may present exceptions. The other great canonical texts of Greek and Latin literature are, of course, concerned with issues, civil and moral, and merely adduce examples to their grand points. Even comedy is not exempt. Although antiquity had a robust tradition of small-scale domestic comedy in the theater, the working principle is most often one of broader application: a moral failing punished, an unhappy and incorrect marriage, an uppity inferior brought back to earth; all of which allude to the moral structure of the universe. Henri Bergson explains in Le Rire that the principle of Commedia dell’Arte, and the comedies of such as Molière, is essentially the manifestation of a vice in an unwitting subject: the vice, a universal, grows to consume him and determine all his behavior without his noticing. The laughter of the crowd is a kind of moral corrective, and draws down a punishment and requital upon the character. To sum up the preceding: the ancients often read each other as explicating universal truths, and we moderns often read each other as explicating our immediate historical circumstances (the great question of this epoch seems to be, what is this epoch?). But the question of how we as moderns read the ancients is not simple. I’ve already alluded to one school of thought, according to which we can largely discount the “truth-value” of the earlier universal statements, and consider them only as the instantiations of a certain historical moment. Foucault is possibly the purest thinker along these lines; Marxists undoubtedly engage in it too, considering universals as “superstructural.” And I’ll mention Max Weber, because he was specifically concerned with the kind of literature that we have here in hand: that is, Renaissance-era anglophone “wisdom literature.” He interested himself especially in a writer like Benjamin Franklin, as one of the great figures in the story of the “Protestant Ethic,” the logical configuration which leads to the development of industrial, and later financial, capitalism. I should mention that a very incisive analysis of the phenomenon has been delivered to us, in superior terminology, in Jacques Rancière’s La Mésentente. Here the idea is that art has undergone three periods, in which three regimes of artistic consumption have been dominant: the ethical, the representational, and the aesthetic. Under the ethical regime, the artwork is judged based on the social hierarchies to which it alludes and which it supports. Under the representational, or bourgeois regime, the artist herself is elevated to the height of a hierarchy in the cult of genius. And finally the aesthetic regime breaks down all hierarchies by identifying the artwork closely with the processes of social life. It is anti-hierarchical and anti-ethical, without necessarily being nihilistic. Anyway, Bacon’s Essays do something that good books occasionally do: which is to speak across regimes, across genres, and to have an unexpected and pleasurable effect. Partly this is the quality of the writing: he’s a wicked one for turning similes, if you’ll excuse me a Mainerism. And partly it’s a special relevance of certain of his subjects to our political moment. I’ll take his essay “On Usury” for an example, and quote you some excerpts. In the current moment of late-stage capitalism, our financial problems might be best summed up as “misregulated usury.” Of course, William Penn is a good writer too; and he writes briefly of usury, in The Fruits of Solitude; yet he produced nothing more than a historical document for the study of the Protestant Ethic. Bacon’s mind is round enough to deliver something sharper: he’s analyzed the issue from an angle not wholly to be expected in what is, after all, wisdom literature of the 16th century English elite. He writes: “To speak of the abolishing of usury [the traditional Catholic opinion] is idle. All states have ever had it, in one kind or rate, or other. So as that opinion must be sent to Utopia.” And he elaborates: “I say this only, that usury is a concessum propter duritiem cordis [a thing allowed by reason of the hardness of men’s hearts]; for since there must be borrowing and lending, and men are so hard of heart as they will not lend freely, usury must be permitted.” And this is all I might have expected, from a writer in the Penn mode. It cuts a path from scripture into the economy, so that a conscientious Christian may participate in the revolutions of production that England was about to undertake. But he is, in fact, thinking on the page, rather than reciting bland platitudes, and so he goes on to enumerate some advantages and disadvantages of usury, and to recommend a compromise: “The discommodities of usury are, First, that it makes fewer merchants. For were it not for this lazy trade of usury, money would not lie still, but would in great part be employed upon merchandizing… The second that it makes poor merchants… The third is incident to the other two; and that is the decay of customs of kings or states, which ebb or flow with merchandizing...The fourth, that it bringeth the treasure of a realm or state into a few hands… For the usurer being at certainties, and others at uncertainties, at the end of the game most of the money will be in the box; and ever a state flourisheth when wealth is more equally spread… The fifth, that it beats down the price of land… The sixth that it doth dull and damp all industries, improvements, and inventions… The last, that it is the canker and ruin of many men’s estates, which in process of time breeds a public poverty.” These are still, roughly, the problems incumbent upon mismanaged mortgage, credit card, or student loan practices. “Howsoever usury in some respect hindereth merchandizing, yet in some other it advanceth it; for it is certain that the greatest part of trade is driven by young merchants, upon borrowing an interest; so as if the usurer either call in or keep back his money, there will ensue presently a great stand of trade… The second is, that were it not for this easy borrowing upon interest, men’s necessities would draw upon them a most sudden undoing…” This may in fact be an understatement of the value of lending for entrepreneurship: I recently read Yanis Varoufakis’s book Talking to my Daughter about the Economy, which I can recommend as containing a good concise discussion of the fundamental role of usury in a capitalistic economy. Bacon concludes with a prescription which modern economists might find interesting (whether it’s sound, I’m not expert enough to know): “That there be two rates of usury: the one free, and general for all; the other under license only, to certain persons and in certain places of merchandizing. First, therefore, let usury in general be reduced to five in the hundred; and let that rate be proclaimed to be free and current; and let the state shut itself out to take any penalty for the same. This will preserve borrowing from any general stop or dryness. This will ease infinite borrowers in the country. This will… Secondly, let there be certain persons licensed to lend to known merchants upon usury at a higher rate; and let it be with the cautions following. Let the rate be, even with the merchant himself, somewhat more easy than that he used formerly to pay; for by that means all borrowers shall have some ease by this reformation, be he merchant, or whosoever… [Banks] will hardly be brooked, in regard of certain suspicions…” Well. Should anyone ever read this, I suppose they will have complaints to file against my review. That it is third-grade philosophy of history, stapled awkwardly onto a book review which is not a review, but merely a long quotation of the book in question. Certainly I would not submit it to a professor. But the central idea with which I have always approached books, and under guidance of which I opened this goodreads account, is that books are interesting. Reading and textuality are interesting. Even when books are boring, they’re interesting: because who bought that boring book? Who wrote it? Well, Bacon wrote this book. It’s wisdom literature, and it’s even wise on occasion; it only rarely sounds like a Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle. It speaks in grand universals, and is probably more fit for a modernist reworking than for reading as a modern text. And yet it has moments of peculiar relevancy. P.S. I’d like to add, if I may do so without sounding like a Straussian conspiracist, that Bacon’s relationship to Machiavelli, whom he quotes several times, is very interesting, and should be looked into.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barack Liu

    240-Essays-Francis Bacon-Essay-1597 Barack 2019/10/08 2020/06/26 —— "A man may be very young in terms of age, but very mature in terms of hours. If he has not wasted time." "The Essays of Bacon" (The Essays of Bacon), also known as "Bacon Essays", was first published in England in 1597. It contains some short essays of a discussion nature, involving politics, economy, religion, love, marriage, friendship, art, education, ethics, etc. Francis Bacon was born in London, England in 1561, and died in 1 240-Essays-Francis Bacon-Essay-1597 Barack 2019/10/08 2020/06/26 —— "A man may be very young in terms of age, but very mature in terms of hours. If he has not wasted time." "The Essays of Bacon" (The Essays of Bacon), also known as "Bacon Essays", was first published in England in 1597. It contains some short essays of a discussion nature, involving politics, economy, religion, love, marriage, friendship, art, education, ethics, etc. Francis Bacon was born in London, England in 1561, and died in 1626. Studied at Cambridge University. Later served as the Queen’s special counsel, the chief prosecutor of the court, and the minister of the seal. He is a British materialist philosopher, the founder of experimental science, the founder of modern induction, and a pioneer in the logical organization of scientific research procedures. Representative works: "New Tools", "Academic Progress", "New Big West Island", "Bacon's Essays". Part of the catalog 1. On truth 2. On death 3. On Religious Unity 4. On Revenge 5. On Distress 6. On falsification and cover-up 7. On Parents and Children 8. On marriage and celibacy 9. On jealousy 10. On love "The Essays of Bacon" (The Essays of Bacon), also known as "Bacon's Essays", the author is the British writer Francis Bacon, the first edition of this book was in 1597. Francis Bacon was born in London in 1561 and died in 1626. He is an essayist and philosopher. His representative works: "New Tools", "Academic Progress", "New Big West Island", "Bacon" Essays. The most well-known one in this book is probably "On Dushu" translated by Mr. Wang Zuoliang . In just 7 00 hundred words, yet the study of meaning interpretation head. It can be said that the word Zhuji. "Reading is enough to be happy, enough to Fu Cai, enough to grow talent. It is also good enough to be seen when living alone and secluded; its Fu Cai is also seen most in talks; its long talent is most seen in the judgment of the world. Although the skilled person can handle the details or distinguish the minor matters one by one, if you look at the overall planning and overall planning, you will be the one who is willing to learn and think. Reading is too time-consuming and easy to be lazy, and the literary decoration is too strong and correct. Things are pedantic. Reading makes up for the deficiencies of nature, and experience makes up for the deficiencies of reading. A natural talent is like natural flowers and plants. Reading and then knowing how to prun and transfer; and the book shows that if it is not based on experience, it is too big and unreasonable. The elder with a skill despise reading, the ignorant envy reading, and only wise people use it, but the book is not used to tell others, the wisdom of using the book is not in the book, but outside the book, it is all obtained by observation. Do not deliberately criticize the author when you are reading, do not say what you say in the letter, or just pick up sentences for chapters, but think carefully. Some books can be tasted, some can be swallowed, and a few have to be chewed and digested. In other words, there are those who only need to read a part of it, some who only need to read it in general, and a few who need to read it all. When reading it, you must concentrate and work tirelessly. The book can also be read on behalf of others, and the abstract should be taken, but only those with inferior or low-value subjects are restricted. Otherwise, the extraction of the book is like water distilled, light and tasteless. Reading is enriching, discussion is witty, and notes are accurate. Therefore, those who do not often take notes must have a strong memory, those who do not often discuss them must be naturally intelligent, and those who do not read often must deceive the world with skill, so that they can be ignorant and show their knowledge. Histories make men wise, reading poetry makes scenery, make careful mathematics, science makes a deep cut, moral grave, logic and rhetoric able to contend the study: who has learned, both as character. People's talents are hindered, and there is no need to read appropriate books to make them smooth, just like all diseases of the body can be eliminated by appropriate exercise. Rolling balls helps the testis and kidneys, archery helps the chest and lungs, slow walking helps the stomach and intestines, riding skills helps the mind, and so on. If the intellect is not concentrated, you can make mathematics study, and you must concentrate on the problem, and you must repeat it if it is scattered; if you can’t distinguish the differences, you can make the philosophy of the school of scholasticism, and you will be a fault-finding person in the generation; Evidence of another thing can be ordered to read the lawyer's file. In this way, there are special medicines for all defects in the mind. " Montaigne (French), Bacon (English), and Pascal (French), these three masters were important European thinkers during the Renaissance. Montaigne’s "Essays of Montaigne" is calm and comfortable, and ambitious young people may not be able to appreciate its interest; Pascal’s "Mind" is full of defense of Christianity and refutation of atheism, which is difficult if there is not enough religious knowledge Understand; therefore, I prefer Bacon's Collection of Bacon Essays. This book contemplates and discusses many issues. It neither focuses on overly metaphysical issues with an out-of-the-world attitude, nor does it stick to the category of religion, but tries to discuss people with rational and objective analysis. Some eternal topics that people will face. The text in the essay is short, but very enlightening. The joy of reading is here. Often people around you have limited depth of thinking about these issues, or even though they are thinking, they don’t have enough expressive ability to express themselves. I think essays are a very good literary genre. Anyone who has ideas can record their thoughts on a certain issue, regardless of format or length, and only emphasizes the clarity of their opinions. I think such words are very helpful for both the author and the reader. In Zuo Zhuan, it is said that "the Supreme Being has morality, followed by meritorious service, and secondly, there is a morality. Although it will not be abandoned for a long time, this is called immortality." I think this view is too in line with my three views. The material needs that most people pursue, as long as they can achieve one of the above three points, I think they should be fully satisfied in a peaceful and prosperous age. After the material needs are met, they begin to pursue spiritual satisfaction; after being spiritually satisfied, they begin to pursue a certain "sacred" satisfaction, or the pursuit of "immortality" and "immortality." Liyan, I think it is one of the best ways. "The joking Pilate once said: "What is truth? "After saying it, and refused to wait for an answer. There are ordinary people in the world who like to change their opinions and think that fixing a belief is tantamount to a set of shackles; they demand will in the same way as in their thoughts and behaviors. The bottom is free. And although this stream of philosophers of various schools has become the past, there are still some wandering speakers with them,-although such people are a little weaker than the ancients. But they make people hypocritical. The reason for this is not only the hardships and difficulties people have when searching for the truth, nor the constraints imposed by the truth on people's thinking after searching for the truth, but a natural, albeit abominable, hobby of hypothesis itself. " What is the truth? The nature of truth , there is human society the truth. We explore the nature of truth, the way , it is to rely on a variety of hypotheses and models. But the correct theory today may be overthrown by newer alternatives tomorrow. The truth in society is even more uncertain. Because of different environments, people's views are also different. "In the days when God created the universe, the first thing he created was the light of the senses; the last thing he created was the light of the intellect; from then until now, in the period of rest after his work, His deeds are all revealed to the world by his holy spirit. At first he blew light on the bottom of things or chaos; then he blew light from the bottom of man; to this day he is still spitting on the face of his elect Bright. One school of philosophy is inferior to others in other aspects, but there is a poet who honors this school of philosophy. The poet once said: "It is a pleasure to stand on the shore and watch the ship toss and toss at sea; stand in front of the bottom window of a fort and watch the war below and its various passages; but there is no pleasure to stand on. At the bottom of the truth (a hill above everything, where the air is always clear and tranquil) witnessed the errors, wanderings, mists, and wind and rain in the valley below "; as long as the person watching this situation is eternally compassionate Don't be complacent, the above remarks are pretty good. Of course, if a person’s heart is motivated by benevolence, God’s will is the destination, and truth is the axis of the earth, then this person’s life is truly heaven on earth. " For people who feel that they have mastered the truth , they may have a certain pity on seeing the ignorance of the world . When children see adults as possible erroneous understanding of the world , can not help but smile , like it. " Montaigne spoke very well when he studied why it is such a humiliation, a very hateful guilt, to say that a person lied. He said: "Think about it carefully. If someone tells a lie, it is equivalent to telling him. Be bold with God and cowardly with the world". Because lies are directed at God and avoid the world. There was a prophecy that when Christ returns, he will not find faithfulness on the earth; so lies can be said to be true Invite God to judge the final bell of all mankind. The sins of falsehood and perfidy can no longer be exposed more clearly than this statement. " Everyone can know only their inner world. We cannot pry into the minds of others, but can only use a person's credibility to judge its authenticity. So people should cherish their credibility as they cherish feathers . "Analects of Confucius" said the " poor of Zhou, as is only too well. Is a gentleman evil Habitat obscene, evil world are owned by Yan. " Credibility of the establishment , may take longer than the length in years of . But to destroy it , it only takes less than a period of time in days. "The stage is more beneficial to those who are in love in life. Because on the stage, "love" can provide material for comedy and tragedy for a long time; but in life, "love" only incurs disaster; it is sometimes the same A deceptive witch, sometimes resembles a goddess of vengeance. You can see that among all the great characters (no matter ancient or modern, as long as their reputation is still in the memory), none of them is in love. Those who are seduced to the degree of fanaticism: It can be seen that great people and important things can really eliminate this kind of weakness. " When love comes, a man of intellect would almost non-existent. It is like a disease. No matter how the surface of the body is armed to the teeth. But when seized by love, it is like being seized by disease, and the fighting spirit of the fighter is disintegrated from within. "The old people said it well. "It's impossible to fall in love and be wise." This kind of weakness is not only visible in the eyes of others, but not in the eyes of loved ones; on the contrary, this kind of weakness , Is the most obvious in the eyes of the beloved, unless the love of the person is rewarded. Because the reward of love is always like this, if it is not for the return of love, it is a kind of hidden contempt in the heart, this theorem is true It can be seen that people should be more careful about this kind of lust, because it not only makes people lose other things, they can’t even keep them. ” " Some people, even when they have to have love in their hearts, can still keep it restricted and separate it from the important tasks of life. These people can be regarded as doing things extremely well; because once "love" participates in business affairs, it will disturb it. Harm people's welfare and make them unable to stick to their goals. " " There is a tendency and tendency to love others secretly in human nature. If this tendency is not consumed by one person or a few people, it will naturally spread to all and make people benevolent, such as among monks. Sometimes this is the case. The love of a husband and wife makes human beings frustrated, and the love of friends makes a person perfect; but infinite lust makes people corrupt and humble. " I think , Cupid probably is the worst this world vision people. He is sometimes extremely blind, letting two obviously unsuitable people love each other. Sometimes let one person fall in love with another person who doesn't love himself. Cupid 's this blind, it is also reflected in the the Cupid Arrow lover who 's who. But despite all the ills of love. But just for that moment of joy, people are willing to die to the body not-shirts to pursue . Like life , although there are all kinds of hardships, and sometimes even less happy and more than pain. But even so, we still love the lives of people. In addition, Cupid is still a tyrant. It has a strong desire to control, once it puts people in his ruling atmosphere, it will always follow this person. Even when he was eating and sleeping, he followed him like a shadow. "An adult’s fear of death is like a child’s fear of going into the dark; the natural fear of children is increased by stories, and so does the adult’s fear of death. Of course, contemplating death, using it as a base for sin, leads to another world. Those who go on their way are pious and religious; but it is foolish to fear death as our contribution to nature." Many sages have discussed the topic of death. Some people are afraid of death, others don't want to talk about death . I thought , we should dare to face it. Don't be taboo to talk about it , or take it to heart all the time. " Death and life are the same; perhaps in a baby, life and death are generally painful. People who die in some kind of ardent behavior are like those who are injured when the blood is hot, and they don’t feel pain at the time. ; So a firm, kind-hearted mind can avoid the pain of death. But, especially the most important, please believe that the sweetest song is after a person has achieved some valuable purpose and hope It sings "Now, please let your servant go." There is still this in death; it opens the door to fame and extinguishes jealousy. "He who is envied in his life will be loved after death. "

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pritam Chattopadhyay

    Bacon’s essays without doubt produce a profound inkling on our minds. They are a fortune of insight into human nature and a storehouse of wisdom and ripe experience. These essays have proved to be one of the world’s epoch-making works. One can broadly classify Bacon’s essays under three heads: (1) Essays which concern man in his relations to the world and society, such as Of Great Place, Of Friendship, Of Parents and Children, Of Suitors and Of Seditions and Troubles. (2) Essays which contend wi Bacon’s essays without doubt produce a profound inkling on our minds. They are a fortune of insight into human nature and a storehouse of wisdom and ripe experience. These essays have proved to be one of the world’s epoch-making works. One can broadly classify Bacon’s essays under three heads: (1) Essays which concern man in his relations to the world and society, such as Of Great Place, Of Friendship, Of Parents and Children, Of Suitors and Of Seditions and Troubles. (2) Essays which contend with man in his relations to himself, such as Of Studies, Of Ambition, and Of Revenge. (3) Essays which contend with man in his relation to his Maker, such as Of Death, Of Unity In Religion, and Of Goodness And Goodness in Nature. The essays of all these categories constitute a booklet of practical wisdom. It has been said that there has been no more vigorous tonic to wit and intellect. Bacon’s essays enclose inestimable guidelines for human conduct. The essay, ‘Of Great Place’, for example, proposes the means by which men can rise to high places and warns those, who hold high positions, against the principal vices of authority. This essay contains sound advice for men in high positions. The essay, ‘Of Studies’, tells us why we should study, how we should study, and what kinds of studies we should pursue. Bacon’s political essays too, contain a lot of wisdom. The foremost among the essays of this category is ‘Of Seditions and Troubles’, much of which is valid even today. All these essays divulge an intensity of surveillance, shrewdness of intellect, and breadth of worldly sense. They suggest luminous wisdom, a rational elevation, and a profound knowledge of the human nature. Bacon impresses us also by the high regard he demonstrates for ethical principles. He highlights the worth of truth: “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” ; and “There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious... “ Bacon harshly censures evil: “in place there is licence to do good and evil, whereof the latter is a curse.... But power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring.” He urges people to develop their capacity for goodness and charity: “But in charity there is no excess; neither can angel or man come in danger by it.” Next, Bacon impresses us by his style. We feel almost daunted by the learning and scholarship that he exhibits in his essays. He makes frequent allusions to historical, biblical, and literary personalities and events. Such allusions come to him unsurprisingly and almost without any labour on his part. Case in point: *The essay, Of Truth, contains references to Pilate, Lucian, Lucretius, Montaigne and others. *The essay, Of Friendship, encloses references to Sulla, Pompey, Julius Caesar, Cicero, Septimius Severus, and more than a few others. Without a doubt, the variety and multiplicity of his illusions are astounding. He shows an extraordinary command of the aphoristic style. Here are a few gems of thought expressed in a precise, epigrammatic manner (1) “He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.” (2) “Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants, but not always best subjects.” (3) “It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty or to seek power over others and to lose power over a man’s self.” (4) “For in evil, the best condition is not to will, the second not to can.” (5) “Those that want friends to open themselves unto are cannibals of their hearts.” (6) “Revenge is a kind of wild justice.” (7) “Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark.” Coming to Bacon’s exercise of figures of speech, he compares truth to a naked and open daylight which does not show the masques and mummeries and triumphs of the world as half so splendid and beautiful as candle-lights show them. He contrasts deceit to an alloy in a coin of gold or silver. The alloy makes the metal work the better, but it lowers the worth of the metal. In the essay, ‘Of Friendship’, he writes “For a crowd is not company, and faces but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.’ One of the fruits of companionship is compared by him to the pomegranate which is full of many kernels. In the essay, ‘Of Study’, he compares the synopsis of a book to common distilled water which has an unexciting flavour. But, although Bacon is an amazing man in his essays, he cannot be said to be an appealing persona. Somehow he fails to magnetize us by any personal charm. #In the first place, there is no personal disclosure in his essays. Essayists like Montaigne and Lamb are engaging predominantly because their essays are full of intimate personal revelations. They relentlessly give us peeps into their own nature, disposition, predilections, and so on. In other words, they establish an undeviating relationship with the reader. Bacon does no such thing. His essays are entirely distant. He talks about the whole world, and all the affairs of men, but never about himself. He never takes us into his sanctum sanatorium. #Secondly, his essays have evidently been written with worldly success in view. They are empty of any moral idealism; it is the art of success among men that Bacon would have us cultivate. His adages are therefore prudential aphorisms. His wisdom is sophisticated wisdom, and it is even tinged with a certain cynicism. He does not shrivel from methods and devices which are perceptibly Machiavellian. We might even say that his guiding principle is suitability, while morality is a derivative consideration. His essays are the work of an opportunist. He writes an essay on the subject of truth, but approves of deceit because deceit can make truth more persuasive. In the essay, ‘Of Great Place’, Bacon seems to fall for the use of dishonest techniques for attaining a high position: “All rising to great place is by a winding stair”. He even advises a man to put himself on the stronger side for the accomplishment of his ambition because impartiality will not pay in the initial stages. In the essay, ‘Of Suitors’, he exposes himself by suggesting that if a patron wants to offer an appointment to the undeserving applicant, he may do so but he should take the precaution of not making any adverse comments on the character of the more deserving candidate. In another essay, he proposes the use of both dissimulation and simulation in order to safeguard confidentiality. He incontestably does not maintain an elevated or an elevating ideal in this essay. #Finally, Bacon fails to endear himself to us due to his cold-heartedness and his want of sensation. He speaks of wife and children as hostages to fortune and as obstructions to big enterprises. He looks at a wife exclusively from the utilitarian point of view: “Wives are young men’s mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men’s nurses.” Bacon’s view of camaraderie is utilitarian too. He values amity highly but for the most part for the gains to be obtained from it. His view of love is desolately below par. He calls love the product of folly He would like men never to link love with the solemn affairs and actions of life. He takes a comparatively gloomy view of love, disregarding the value of passion and the inspiration that love often provides. A mammoth proportion of Bacon’s essays deals either with the ethical qualities of men, or with matters pertaining to the government of states. From the moral point of view, his essays seem to be the work of an opportunist. He admires truth, ethical as well as intellectual. “Clear and round dealing is the honour of man’s nature”, he says in the essay, ‘Of Truth’. But in the same essay he compares mendacity to an alloy in gold and silver which, though it degrades the metal, makes it work the better. In the essay, ‘Of Simulation and Dissimulation’, he says that both dissimulation and simulation are pleasing and essential in certain situations. From the moral point of view, Bacon does not aim at an elevated or exalted ideal. His maxims are prudential. He is supportive of a course of action that pays best. He censures slyness, not as a thing despicable and depraved, but as something imprudent. The essay, ‘Of Friendship’, advocates a functional view of friendship. Bacon values friendship exceedingly, but principally for the fruits to be gathered from it. His conviction in religion, like his conviction in moral principles, is fundamentally prudential. Nor does he attach much importance to emotion and sentiment, as is clear from his essays, ‘Of Parents And Children’, ‘Of Marriage And Single Life’, and ‘Of Love’. Bacon felt more tranquil in the character of a statesman than in that of a moralist. He shares some of his political attitudes with Machiavelli. Among the weightiest of his essays are those which treat of political issues. Nowhere does his perception show to better advantage than here. The essay, ‘Of Plantations’, contains sound principles. The essay, ‘Of Seditions and Troubles’, is incredibly matter-of-fact in its conduct of the subject. In the essay, ‘Of the Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates’, he fittingly highlights the magnitude of military and naval power. As one of the world’s epoch making books, Bacon’s essays have done much to shape and direct the character of many individuals. But, of course, these essays are not the classified chat of a great author. Bacon is too dignified and his thoughts are too insightful for his essays to be thus regarded. Just here we discover the secret of Bacon’s inadequacy as an essayist to Montaigne or to Lamb. The ideal essay implies certain nimbleness and simplicity, and a confidential relationship between the author and the reader. What do we find in them, one might ask ! 1) Bacon does not speak of trivialities. He has a taste for splendour and it appears in his treatment of various subjects. 2) In Montaigne and in Lamb, ‘subject’ is often unimportant, but is treated with feeling. In Bacon, the subject is always important and however unsystematic he may be in his treatment of it, he never wanders from its boundaries. 3) When he speaks of “masques and triumphs” (which he calls “toys”), he discusses them at nearly as great length, and with as strict an adherence to the theme, as when discussing truth or death or revenge or atheism. The essays of Bacon are perhaps more important from the literary or the stylistic point of view. In writing his essays, Bacon did more than initiate a new literary form. He took one of the lengthiest steps ever taken in the expansion of an English prose style. It was a step which set that style upon the road which it travelled to the times of Addison and Swift. English prose was already, before Bacon, or autonomously of him, affluent and resonant. Hooker, the last book of whose great masterpiece was published in the same year with Bacon’s earliest essays, still ranks as one of the greatest stylists in English. So does Sir Walter Raleigh who had written several things before that date. Both Hooker and Raleigh indisputably have magnificence and potency. But it cannot be said that they were masters of a style suited for all the purposes of prose. Bacon developed a style which, though not quite lithe and contemporary, was unparalleled for the elevated communication of thought. Though a devoted Latinist and using a decidedly Latinized vocabulary, he saw that the vastness of English prose was being written in wobbly sentences of colossal length, and he discovered the value of petite, brusque, and firmly-knit sentences, unfamiliar in English. He rejected the complacency and congested imagery of the euphuists, but knew how to illumine his thought with well-placed figures, and to give to it a creative radiance and charisma. Bacon’s essays have become a classic of the English language and they owe this position, not to their theme but to their style. Brevity of expression and epigrammatic succinctness are the most discernible attributes of this style. Bacon possessed the authority of compressing into a few words a great body of thought. This concision of style is often attained by the evading of superfluous epithets and by the oversight of the ordinary joints and sinews of speech, such as conjunctions and other logical connections. Yet it is seldom carried to the length of obscurity, and Bacon’s pithiness is matched only by his articulacy and unambiguousness. Bacon’s essays are also intermingled with quotations from an assortment of sources, particularly with quotations from Latin authors. His style impresses us by its epigrammatic quality and its use of vibrant figures of speech. He shows himself to be a master of the thick, terse mariner of writing. No one has ever produced a greater number of closely packed and striking formulas, loaded with matter-of-fact astuteness. Many of them have become current as proverbs. A classic in its own right!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    I'd been meaning to tackle Bacon's Essays for years; they're listed among the "100 Significant Books" in Good Reading; this edition has been in my household since before I was born, the better to mark up and highlight, since it's hardly pristine. Bacon's essays didn't impress at first. For one, so many of the best lines in the early essays are quotes from classical sources (almost all in Latin, so it's a good thing my edition provided translations within brackets.) But also reading the short pro I'd been meaning to tackle Bacon's Essays for years; they're listed among the "100 Significant Books" in Good Reading; this edition has been in my household since before I was born, the better to mark up and highlight, since it's hardly pristine. Bacon's essays didn't impress at first. For one, so many of the best lines in the early essays are quotes from classical sources (almost all in Latin, so it's a good thing my edition provided translations within brackets.) But also reading the short provided biography provided lots of reasons for cynicism. Bacon was stripped of high office for bribery, and never had any children, and knowing that made me look upon such essays as "On Truth," "Of Great Place" (where he speaks of avoiding even the suspicion of bribery) and "Of Parents and Children" with a jaundiced eye. That last essay and his take on "Of Marriage and Single Life" and "Of Love" made me feel Bacon's was a cold heart, that only went pitter patter with ambition. (His essay "Of Friendship," one of my favorites in the collection ameliorated that impression a great deal.) At the same time, his life story just underlined that here was a shrewd politician, and that lends all the more interest to essays on power and statesmanship such as "Of Seditions and Troubles," "Of Empire," "Of Counsel" and "On Cunning." Some of his insights certainly still seemed current: Princes have need, in tender matters and ticklish times, to beware what they say; especially in these short speeches, which fly abroad like darts, and are thought to be hot out of their secret intentions - Of Seditions and Troubles For their merchants; they are the gate-vein [that distributes nourishment to the body] and if they flourish not, a kingdom may have good limbs, but will have empty veins, and nourish little. Taxes and imposts upon them do seldom good to the king's revenue; for that that he wins in the hundred he loses in the shire; the particular rates being increased, but the total bulk of trading rather decreased. - Of Empire Besides essays mentioned above, two of my favorites were "Of Travel" (his advice on how to make the most of foreign travel is still relevant) and "Of Studies" with this famous passage: Read not to contradict, and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: That is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read but not curiously; And some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. - Of Studies Besides which, just look in any index of a book of quotations. The essays influence on literature, thinking and common phrases is prodigious, making this a must-read. Just make sure you get an edition like mine that translates the Latin phrases and provides some definition of period words in handy footnotes and you're all set. (One that regularizes the capitalizations and spellings are a help as well for enjoyment and comprehension.) They're short--ranging from only a few hundred to a few thousand words--mostly on that short end of that spectrum, and despite the period language I found them, if not easy, then not difficult reads. I certainly found Bacon far more lively and accessible reading than such descendents as Thoreau and Emerson.

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