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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

From the ‘Apophthegms’

By Francis Bacon (1561–1626)

(See full text.)

7. MY Lo. of Essex, at the succor of Rhoan, made twenty-four knights, which at that time was a great matter. Divers of those gentlemen were of weak and small means; which when Queen Elizabeth heard, she said, “My Lo. mought have done well to have built his alms-house before he made his knights.”

21. Many men, especially such as affect gravity, have a manner after other men’s speech to shake their heads. Sir Lionel Cranfield would say, “That it was as men shake a bottle, to see if there was any wit in their head or no.”

33. Bias was sailing, and there fell out a great tempest, and the mariners, that were wicked and dissolute fellows, called upon the gods; but Bias said to them, “Peace, let them not know ye are here.”

42. There was a Bishop that was somewhat a delicate person, and bathed twice a day. A friend of his said to him, “My lord, why do you bathe twice a day?” The Bishop answered, “Because I cannot conveniently bathe thrice.”

55. Queen Elizabeth was wont to say of her instructions to great officers, “That they were like to garments, strait at the first putting on, but did by and by wear loose enough.”

64. Sir Henry Wotton used to say, “That critics are like brushers of noblemen’s clothes.”

66. Mr. Savill was asked by my lord of Essex his opinion touching poets; who answered my lord, “He thought them the best writers, next to those that write prose.”

85. One was saying, “That his great-grandfather and grandfather and father died at sea.” Said another that heard him, “And I were as you, I would never come at sea.” “Why, (saith he) where did your great-grandfather and grandfather and father die?” He answered, “Where but in their beds.” Saith the other, “And I were as you, I would never come in bed.”

97. Alonso of Arragon was wont to say, in commendation of age, That age appeared to be best in four things: “Old wood best to burn; old wine to drink; old friends to trust; and old authors to read.”

119. One of the fathers saith, “That there is but this difference between the death of old men and young men: that old men go to death, and death comes to young men.”