“Friendship multiplieth joys and divideth griefs.” – Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

In his 1625 version of the essay OF FRIENDSHIP, Francis Bacon wrote of the powerful effect friendship has on us as we communicate our joys and sorrows to one another:

But one thing is most admirable (wherewith I will conclude this first fruit of friendship), which is, that this communicating of a man’s self to his friend, works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halves. For there is no man, that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less.

While I think the 1625 version is more frequently cited, I like the original 1612 version because it draws on the powerful relationship between multiplying and dividing:

There is no greater desert or wilderness then to be without true friends. For without friendship, society is but meeting. And as it is certain, that in bodies inanimate, union strengtheneth any natural motion, and weakeneth any violent motion; So amongst men, friendship multiplieth joys, and divideth griefs. Therefore, whosoever wanteth fortitude, let him worship Friendship. For the yoke of Friendship maketh the yoke of fortune more light.

Lastly, it’s interesting to read the 1625 version in the original English:

But one Thing is most Admirable, (wherewith I will conclude this first Fruit of frendship) which is, that this Communicating of a Mans Selfe to his Frend, works two contrarie Effects; For it redoubleth Ioyes, and cutteth Griefes in Halfes. For there is no Man, that imparteth his Ioyes to his Frend, but he ioyeth the more; And no Man, that imparteth his Griefes to his Frend, but hee grieueth the lesse.

How grateful I am for the blessing of friends who have multiplied my joys and divided my sorrows.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s