Hostage to fortune

Posted by ESC on September 15, 2005

In Reply to: Hostage to fortune posted by Paul Schneider on September 15, 2005

: What is the meaning of "to give hostages to fortune"?

HOSTAGES TO FORTUNE - "He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief." Of Marriage and Single Life. Francis Bacon (1561-1626).

It means once you have a wife (or husband) and children or other people depending on you, you can't go off on a reckless, great adventure.