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Sir Francis Bacon


Essay 21

    Of Delayes.
1 FOrtune is like the Market; Where many times, if you can stay a little, the Price will fall. And againe, it is sometimes like Sybilla's Offer; which at first offereth the Commodity at full, then consumeth part and part, and still holdeth vp the Price. For Occasion (as it is in the Common verse) turneth a Bald Noddle, after she hath presented her locks in Front, and no hold taken: Or at least turneth the Handle of the Bottle, first to be receiued, and after the Belly, which is hard to claspe. There is surely no greater Wisedome, then well to time the Beginnings, and Onsets of Things. Dangers are no more light, if they once seeme light: And more dangers haue deceiued Men, then forced them. Nay, it were better, to meet some Dangers haIfe way, though they come nothing neare, then to keepe too long a watch, vpon their Approaches; For if a Man watch too long, it is odds he will fall asleepe. On the other side, to be deceiued, with too long shadowes, (As some haue been, when the Moone was low, and shone on their Enemies backe) And so to shoot off before the time; Or to teach dangers to come on, by ouer early Buckling towards them, is another Extreme. The Ripenesse, or vnripenesse, of the Occasion (as we said) must euer be well weighed; And generally, it is good, to commit the Beginnings of all great Actions, to Argos with his hundred Eyes; And the Ends to Briareus with his hundred Hands: First to Watch, and then to Speed. For the Helmet of Pluto, which maketh the Politicke Man goe Inuisible, is, Secrecy in the Counsell, & Celerity in the Execution. For when Things are once come to the Execution, there is no Secrecy comparable to Celerity; Like the Motion of a Bullet in the Ayre, which flyeth so swift, as it out-runs the Eye.

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