The Essays Or Counsels by Francis Bacon

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"Young Men Are Fitter To Invent Than To Judge"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Bacon, as he writes in this little essay, is neither for nor against youth. He says, for example, ". . . the invention of young men is more lively than that of old; and imaginations stream into their minds better, and as it were more divinely." He sees that there are advantages to youth, as there are advantages to age. After commenting on different temperaments in both young and old, Bacon asserts that "the virtues of either age may correct the defects of both." While in the bare quotation under discussion it may seem that Bacon is disparaging youth, the context proves that he is not:

. . . Young men are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than counsel; and fitter for new projects than for settled business. For the experience of age, in things that fall within the compass of it, directeth them; but in new things, abuseth them. The errors of young men are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged men amount but to this, that more might have been done, or sooner.