For there is no comparison between that which we may lose by not trying and by not succeeding; since by not trying we throw away the chance of an immense good; by not succeeding we only incur the loss of a little human labour. But as it is, it appears to me from what has been said, and also from what has been left unsaid, that there is hope enough and to spare, not only to make a bold man try, but also to make a sober-minded and wise man believe.

[Non enim res pari periculo non tentatur, et no succedit; cum in illo ingentis boni, in hoc exiguae humanae operae, jactura vertatur. Verum ex dictis, atque etiam ex non dictis, visum est nobis spei abunde subesse, non tantum homini strenuo ad experiendum, sed etiam prudenti et sobrio ad credendum.]

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Instauratio Magna, Part 2 “Novum Organum, Book 1, Aphorism # 114 (1620) [tr. Spedding (1858)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For the risk attending want of success is not to be compared with that of neglecting the attempt; the former is attended with the loss of a little human labour, the latter with that of an immense benefit. For these and other reasons, it appears to us that there is abundant ground to hope, and to induce not only those who are sanguine to make experiment, but even those who are cautious and sober to give their assent.
[tr. Wood (1831)]

For it is not a case where there is an equal risk in not trying and not succeeding; since in the former instance we risk a huge advantage; in the latter a little human labour is thrown away. But from what has been said, and also from what has not been said, it seems to us that there is abundant ground of hope, not only to justify a stout-hearted man in trying, but even a prodent and sober man in believing.
[tr. Johnson (1859)]

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Mar-22
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