Of Study by Francis Bacon | A Short and Simple Analysis

Short Simple Study on Bacon's "Of Study"

Bacon’s Of Study

The function or use of studies

  1. Delight in privacy/ retirement/ aloofness.
  2. Embellishing or decorating (rhetoric, proverbs, idioms, quotations etc.) conversation or interaction in a rhythmical way.
  3. Practical use/ Pragmatic use/ Business management/ chalking out plans.

The abuses/ disadvantages/ demerits/ defects of studies

  1. Spending too much time in studies makes one idle and lazy in temperament (Sloth).
  2. Needless or vain display of learning/ pedantry/ sounds like an empty vessel (Affection).
  3. Blind faith on the bookish rules and principles spoils our inherent talent and judgemental power. (Humour of scholars)

“…for natural abilities are like natural plants that need pruning by study…”

A beautiful simile is used here. Just as a plant that grows wildly have to be pruned or trimmed in order to look beautiful, similarly our natural abilities should have to be properly directed, guided and shaped by studies so that they may be truly effective.

Different outlooks towards study

  1. Crafty (cunning/ shrewd) men hate (condemn/ disregard) studies. They always want to put their brain above bookish knowledge.
  2. Simple (illiterate/ unsophisticated/ uneducated) admire (worship/ praise) study and those persons who excel in studies and capture a high rank in society.
  3. Wise (intelligent/ witty) persons utilize the best exercise of studies. They are not mere doctrinaire. Observation and experience of life give the coup de grace (richness) to the fruit of study.

Rules of study

  1. Obviously not to contradict, oppose or refute to other’s opinion.
  2. Weigh and consider whatever we read. We should analyse the book aptly. We should judge and value every proposition.
  3. Distinction between to be read:
  4. Tasted:– To be read in part/ sampled (tasting like bitter gourd and pickle)
  5. Swallowed: – To be read completely without much care/ attention/ concentration/ getting the inner meaning. (eating rice and curry as these are essential)

      III.            Chewed and Digested:– To be read with diligence/ grasp/ attention/ line by line. (Enjoying the taste of chicken or mutton curry)


“…distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things.”

The study of books by means of notes, summary and analyses is tasteless/ insipid like the distilled water. It lacks the real charm.

Different modes of studying

  1. Reading:A man can sharpen his understanding/ knowledge/ power of mind/ thought. (Full Man)
  2. Conference or Conversation: makes a man quick/ alert/ smart. (Ready Man)
  3. Writing:It makes a man exact/ accurate/ precise. It fixes our ideas and thoughts permanently in our memory.


The value of different studies

  1. History:fosters wisdom (past records, dates, anecdotes, events, experiences)
  2. Poetry:fosters imaginations/ ready wit/ fancy/ inventive power.
  3. Mathematics:refines intellect.
  4. Philosophy:

1) Natural: fosters depth

2) Moral: fosters gravity/ seriousness.

  1. e. Logic:grows the art of reasoning and argument
  2. Rhetoric:increases impressive speaking power/ oratory.

Abeunt studia in mores.”

This Latin expression quoted from Ovid’s Heroides. Studies mould our character in a perfect way. It surely changes our attitude upon everything.

Also Read:

Study’s medical power of healing mental diseases

  1. Physical Exercise:
  2. Bowling: good for kidneys (stone and reins)
  3. Shooting: good for lungs and breast.

II.            Gentle walking: good for digestion.

  1. Riding: good for head.
  2. Mental Exercise:
  3. Mathematics: good for wandering wits/ makes us concentrative.
  4. Scholastic philosophy (Middle Ages): good for confusion of thought/ helps us realizing matters.

III.            Lawyer’s cases: good for training memory.

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