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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1163
AUTHOR: Francis Bacon (1561–1626)
QUOTATION: He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune, for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. 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…. He was reputed one of the wise men that made answer to the question, when a man should marry—“A young man not yet, an elder man not at all.”
ATTRIBUTION: FRANCIS BACON,Of Marriage and Single Life,” The Essays or Counsels Civil and Moral of Francis Bacon, ed. Fred A. Howe, chapter 8, pp. 20, 22 (1908). Based on the 1625 edition but with modernized spelling.
SUBJECTS: Marriage