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“Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants; but not always best subjects; for they are light to run away…” Friends, certainly, because they’re available socially.
Servants too, because they’d have no one competing against your interests. You couldn’t run very far, unless your monarch granted you a passport.
“Chaste women are often proud and froward, as presuming upon the merit of their chastity.
It is one of the best bonds, both of chastity and obedience, in the wife, if she think her husband wise; which she will never do, if she find him jealous.” That one makes me laugh.
(He was 45, she was 14, but don’t worry; the marriage was probably chaste.
He needed her father’s money very badly.) He wrote, “Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men; which both in affection and means, have married and endowed the public.” This is quite a bold assertion which is unlikely to hold up to scholarly scrutiny, if only because most people reproduce and therefore the parent clan has numbers on their side.
It’s one of those basic human truths and it proves Bacon was capable of observing women and understanding their motives, even though he spent the majority of his life in the company of men. He lived at Gray’s most of his life, but he was a courtier all his adult life, serving a regnant queen and a king whose wife led a merry court.
However shy, however male-oriented, he would have been obliged to make conversation with many women in the course of an ordinary week.) Bacon originated this oft-quoted observation: “Wives are young men’s mistresses; companions for middle age; and old men’s nurses.” Certainly men who are looking for in-house mistresses will marry a young woman, but in my admittedly limited observation, young couples seem more equitable than those of my peers and older.
They have to make sensible choices, which tend to be moderate. because their tenderness is not so oft called upon.
Bacon has praise for the single state and seems like a single man throughout his life, even though he did eventually marry.