Francis Bacon (1561–1626), British philosopher, essayist, statesman. Essays, "Of Boldness," (1597-1625).
Referring to a tradition relating to Muhammad. "So," Bacon explained, "these men, when they have promised great matters, and failed most shamefully (yet if they have the perfection of boldness), they will but slight it over, and make a turn, and no more ado." This is the first appearance of the proverb in English.