ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born in the middle of the 16th century period Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was regarded as the major prose writer of the Jacobean Age. With this, he was also recognized as a lawyer, statesman, philosopher, poet, orator, essayist, and jurist, by profession.
The term ‘essay’ was at first used by Frenchman Montaigne, but it was Bacon who started this term or genre into England for the first time through his writing formats. And, for this, Bacon is also called the Father of English Essays. Bacon was also named “The young Lord Keeper” by Queen Elizabeth I who remained extremely inclined because of the high intellect Bacon owns.
Sir Francis Bacon is a very celebrated icon in the world of English Literature for his two important inventions, the first is the introduction of the Essay genre- throughout his lifetime he has written approx 58 essays and, one more for the invention of scientific methods which is also known as the inductive method or Baconian Method.
The essay “Of Studies” is highly based on the theme of morality where Bacon talked about the importance of studies in one’s life. The whole essay describes the fruitful outcome of study like; how study assists ability, and how an educated person can show it as an ornament.
Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment, and disposition of business. For expert, men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best, from those that are learned.
To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning, by study; and studies themselves, do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience.
Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confuse, 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 to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Some books also may be ready by a deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books, else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And therefore, if a man writes little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit: and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know, that he doth not.
Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. Abeunt studia in mores. Nay, there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies; like as diseases of the body, may have appropriate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone and reins; shooting for the lungs and breast; gentle walking for the stomach; riding for the head; and the like.
So if a man’s wit be wondering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstration, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again. If his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the Schoolmen; for they are cymini sectors. If he be not apt to bear over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyer’s cases. So every defect mind, may have a special receipt.