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What are the main points in Bacon's essay "Of Delay"?

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Francis Bacon's essay "Of Delay," while opening with an admission that while it may, at times, be best to wait upon a turn of fortune, concludes that this strategy may also result in a loss. He cites, as an example, the mythic tale in which the Cumaean Sybil burned six of the nine books of prophecy she had originally offered to Tarquin, the king of Rome, before he relented and was forced to pay her original price for the remaining three.

But he warns that an automatic response is wrong at either extreme; to allow a fearful reflex to "teach dangers to come by . . . by early buckling towards them," or to become so lax that we "watch too long" and subsequently "fall asleep" while on guard, are equally dangerous choices.

His general counsel is that one must carefully judge every occasion of action on its merits:

The ripeness, or unripeness, of the occasion (as we said) must ever be well-weighed; and generally it is good, to commit the beginnings of all great actions to Argus, with his hundred eyes, and the ends to Briareus, with his hundred hands; first to watch, and then to speed.

If one is alert to all possible outcomes of a course of action, in this manner, than one will know the optimal moment to execute their plan: "There is surely no greater wisdom, than well to time the beginnings, and onsets, of things."

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Karyth Cara eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Bacon's main points, couched in much Classical allusion,

it is sometimes like Sibylla’s offer; which at first, offereth the commodity at full, then consumeth part and part, and still holdeth up the price.

are that, when addressing approaching dangers, (1) it is imperative to wait though (2) equally imperative to not wait too long.

This is what he means by "it were better, to meet some dangers half way": waiting too long can overstay the moment and lead to as much harm as over-anticipating the moment to act. The two greatest attributes in facing danger are wisdom in counsel and planning and speed in acting once decided the time is right: "secrecy in the counsel, and celerity in the execution" (celerity: swiftness of movement). 

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shewa55 | Student

It is not clear like the other answer

i am not fully understand the essay.please give explanation in simple words and cover all the essay