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Here again is a set of phrases adapted to occasions of compliment, of excuse, of application, of acknowledgment, of introduction, of conclusion, &c., belonging to the same class with the formulæ minores orationis, of which he explains the nature and use in the 4th book of the De Augmentis under the head of Rhetoric:

1. The matter though it be new, (if that be new which hath been practised in like case, though not in this particular).

2. I leave the reasons to the party's relation and the consideration of them to your wisdom.

3. Wishing you all, &c., and myself occasion to do you service.

4. I shall be glad to understand your news, but none rather than some overture wherein I may do you service.

5. Ceremonies and green rushes are for strangers.

6. Small matters need solicitation; great are remembered of themselves.

7. The matter goeth so slowly forward that I have almost forgot it myself, so as I marvel not if my friends forget.

8. I shall be content my course intended for service leave me in liberty.

9. It is in vain to forbear to renew that grief by speech, which the want of so great a comfort must needs renew.

10. As I did not seek to win your thanks, so your courteous acceptation deserveth mine.

11. I desire no secret news, but the truth of common


12. The difference is not between you and me, but between your profit and my trust.

13. Why hath not God sent you my mind or me your means?

14. I think it my double good hap, both for the obtaining and for the mean.

15. I wish one as fit as I am unfit.

A separate sheet in the same bundle is filled with forms of morning and evening salutation.

The following may be all classed under the head of repartees, and were probably suggested by his experience in the courts of law:

1. Now you say somewhat. Even when you will; now you begin to conceive, I begin to say.

2. Repeat your reason. Bis ac ter pulchra.

3. You go from the matter. But it was to follow you. 4. Come to the point.-Why I shall not find you there. 5. Let me make an end of my tale. That which I will say will make an end of it.

6. You take more than is granted. -You grant less than is proved.

7. It is so, I will warrant you. You may warrant me, but I think I shall not vouch you.

8. Answer me shortly. Yea, that you may comment upon it.

9. The cases will come together. It will be to fight



There are more of these; but these will serve for specimens.


In wise sentences and maxims of all kinds the collection, as might be expected, is rich. But very many of them are now hacknied, and many others are seen to greater advantage in different parts of Bacon's works, where they are accompanied with his comments or shewn in their application. The general character of them will be sufficiently understood from the following samples, which are taken almost at random:

1. Suavissima vita indies meliorem fieri:

2. Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner. 3. L'astrologia è vera, ma l' astrologico non vi truova. 4. If the bone be not true set, it will never be well till it be broken.

5. All is not in years, somewhat is in hours well spent. 6. Detractor portat diabolum in linguâ.

7. Velle suum cuique est, nec voto vivitur uno.

8. Black will take no other hue.

9. Qui in parvis non distinguit in magnís labitur. 10. Everything is subtle till it be conceived.

11. That which is forced is not forcible.

12. Quod longe jactum est leviter ferit.

13. Nec nihil neque omnia sunt quæ dicuntur.

11. Super mirari cœperunt philosophari.

15. Prudens celat scientiam, stultus proclamat stulti


16. Non recipit stultus verba prudentiæ nisi ea dixeris quæ sunt in corde ejus.1

1 A sentence frequently quoted by Bacon. It is the Vulgate version of Proverbs xviii. 2., which is rendered differently in the English translation,

17. Melior claudus in via quam cursor extra viam.

18. The glory of God is to conceal a thing, and the glory of a man is to find out a thing.

19. Facile est ut quis Augustinum vincat, viderit utrum veritate an clamore.

20. Hinc errores multiplices, quod de partibus vitæ singuli deliberant, de summa nemo.

21. Optimi consiliarii mortui.

22. Odere reges dicta quæ dici jubent.

23. I contemn few men, but most things.

24. Variam dant otia mentem.

25. Non possumus aliquid contra veritatem sed pro veritate.

26. Qui bene nugatur ad mensam sæpe vocatur.

27. A man's customs are the moulds where his fortune

is cast.

28. He that resolves in haste repents at leisure.

29. You would be over the stile before you come at it. 30. I never liked proceeding upon articles before books, nor betrothings before marriages.

31. Nothing is impossible to a willing heart. 32. Better be envied than pitied.

33. Better sit still than rise and fall.

34. Always let losers have their words.
35. He goes far that never turneth.
36. Suum cuique pulchrum.
37. Quæ supra nos nihil ad nos.

38. In magnis et voluisse sat est.

viz.: "A fool hath no delight in understanding but that his heart may dis

cover itself;" the meaning of which I do not understand.

39. Et post malam segetem serendum est.

40. Bonæ leges ex malis moribus.

41. Nil tam bonum est quin male narrando possit depravarier.

42. Totum est majus sua parte (against factions and private profit).

43. Turpe proco ancillam sollicitare, est autem virtutis ancilla laus.


Of the sentences taken from the Bible and from the Adagia of Erasmus, I need not give any specimens ; for I can throw no light on the principle which guided Bacon in selecting them, and if I were to attempt to make another selection from his I should only be adding a few more sentences of the same kind as those just given; several of which do in fact come from Erasmus and some from the Bible.


The proverbs may all or nearly all be found in our common collections; and the best of them are of course in everybody's mouth. The following, which are among the least familiar to modern ears, may serve for a sample.

1. De nouveau tout est beau.

De saison tout est bon.

2. A long winter maketh a full ear.

3. While the leg warmeth the boot harmeth.

4. Be the day never so long

At last it ringeth to evensong.

5. Seldom cometh the better.

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