Francis Bacon's essay "On Friendship" extols the various virtues and benefits of having a friend. He describes how being a member of a crowd is not the same as really being in company: one needs to have love in common with other people in order to feel no longer lonely.
He describes the fruits of friendship as follows:
1. "The ease and discharge of the fulness and swellings of the heart." Here, Bacon is suggesting that there is actually a physical benefit to having a friend. He makes a connection between the physical and the metaphorical heart, common to the understanding of the time. A true friend, with whom you can share your joy, grief, hope, suspicion, advice, confessions, and so on, will render your heart open, so it will be less oppressed, and you will feel better in body as well as in spirit.
2. "Daylight in the understanding." The second fruit of friendship, Bacon argues, is that we are able to understand the world around us better. Having a friend helps us clarify our own views and understanding of the world around us. By having someone to exchange thoughts with, we come to understand ourselves better, as well as our world. A true friend will also tell you the truth about yourself.
3. The final fruit of friendship is "aid." If a person truly has a friend, they do not have to worry about what will happen to their loved ones after they die. They do not have to worry that there will be things they cannot do because they are only one person. A friend can speak to a person's son as a friend, rather than as a father, thus helping their friend to make sense of their life.