Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Of Adversity. By Sir Francis Bacon

Bust of Sir Francis Bacon. From

IT WAS an high speech of Seneca (after the manner of the Stoics), that the good things, which belong to prosperity, are to be wished; but the good things, that belong to adversity, are to be admired. Bona rerum secundarum optabilia; adversarum mirabilia. Certainly if miracles be the command over nature, they appear most in adversity. It is yet a higher speech of his, than the other (much too high for a heathen), It is true greatness, to have in one the frailty of a man, and the security of a God. Vere magnum habere fragilitatem hominis, securitatem Dei. This would have done better in poesy, where transcendences are more allowed. And the poets indeed have been busy with it; for it is in effect the thing, which figured in that strange fiction of the ancient poets, which seemeth not to be without mystery; nay, and to have some approach to the state of a Christian; that Hercules, when he went to unbind Prometheus (by whom human nature is represented), sailed the length of the great ocean, in an earthen pot or pitcher; lively describing Christian resolution, that saileth in the frail bark of the flesh, through the waves of the world. But to speak in a mean. The virtue of prosperity, is temperance; the virtue of adversity, is fortitude; which in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New; which carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God's favor. Yet even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp, you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored more in describing the afflictions of Job, than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see in needle-works and embroideries, it is more pleasing to have a lively work, upon a sad and solemn ground, than to have a dark and melancholy work, upon a lightsome ground: judge therefore of the pleasure of the heart, by the pleasure of the eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odors, most fragrant when they are incensed, or crushed: for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.
REFERENCE : Essays. The Essays Or Counsels, Civil And Moral, Of Francis Ld Verulam Viscount St. Albans. Author: Francis Bacon

Sir Francis Bacon.

Francis Bacon, Viscount Saint Alban,(22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. Although his political career ended in disgrace, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution.
Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. His works established and popularized inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry, often called the Baconian method, or simply the scientific method. His demand for a planned procedure of investigating all things natural marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, much of which still surrounds conceptions of proper methodology today.


  1. These wise and not undeep words by Francis Bacon could be the words of my putative brother. Just wondering. Same character, same figure, same man.

    Does this text fit your privacy politics, Myriam, or will i be censored again?

  2. Hola anónimo, ya sabes que me encantan los intercambios culturales. Y puedes comentar en español, sé que el inglés no te gusta :) Me gustaron estas palabras de Bacon, me hacen reflexionar por la relatividad de las alegrías o los pequeños milagros. Por ejemplo, un pan en la mesa para un pobre, en comparación con una joya para un rico.

  3. Pues yo debo de ser pobre; lo soy de hecho materialmente. No tengo nada de nada mío, ni siquiera coche, ni casa, ni moto (y me gustan la velocidad y los motores rápidos), ni caballo, ni espada, ni mujer siquiera; porque prefiero un buen pan en la mesa y hablar y ser feliz -y no lo soy-, que una joya que sólo indica que la mujer (o el hombre) que la lleva no es suficientemente bella ni autónoma para prescindir del ornamento y de la ostentación.

  4. Una vez casi me peleo con la esposa de un amigo. Dijo en una cena, que la felicidad era una cuenta bien jugosa en el banco. Yo le respondí que para uno de mis trabajadores, por ejemplo, era el asado en la obra. Para otros, será curarse de una larga enfermedad, y así...Pero no reconocemos lo que tenemos hasta que lo perdemos. ¨La virtud en la adversidad es la fortaleza¨, hermosa frase de Bacon.


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