Francois de La Rochefoucauld Quotes

It is with certain good qualities as with the senses; those who have them not can neither appreciate nor comprehend them in others.

There is scarcely any man sufficiently clever to appreciate all the evil he does.

We should manage our fortune as we do our health - enjoy it when good be patient when it is bad and never apply violent remedies except in an extreme necessity

They that apply themselves to trifling matters commonly become incapable of great ones.

Our actions are like blank rhymes to which everyone applies what sense he pleases.

There are very few things impossible in themselves; and we do not want means to conquer difficulties so much as application and resolution in the use of means.

Few things are impossible in themselves: application to make them succeed fails us more often than the means.

Few things are impracticable in themselves; and it is for want of application rather than of means that men fail to succeed.

What keeps us from abandoning ourselves entirely to one vice often is the fact that we have several.

What often prevents our abandoning ourselves to a single vice is our having more than one.

Jealousy is nothing more than a fear of abandonment

None but the contemptible are apprehensive of contempt.

The extreme pleasure we take in speaking of ourselves should make us apprehensive that it gives hardly any to those who listen to us.

The hunger for applause is the source for all conscious literature and heroism

The applause we give those who are new to society often proceeds from a secret envying of those already established.

Those who are overreached by our cunning are far from appearing to us as ridiculous as we appear to ourselves when the cunning of others has overreached us.

Fortune never appears so blind as to those to whom she does no good.

Truth has scarce done so much good in the world as the false appearances of it have done hurt.

The appearances of goodness and merit often meet with a greater reward from the world than goodness and merit themselves.

No matter how much care we put into hiding our passions under the appearances of devotion and honor they can always be seen to peer out through these covers.

The desire of appearing clever often prevents our becoming so.

We torment ourselves rather to make it appear that we are happy than to become so.

To establish yourself in the world a person must do all they can to appear already established.

A man in order to establish himself in the world does everything he can to appear established there.

The world more often rewards the appearances of merit than merit itself.

Truth does less good in the world than its appearances do harm.

In all aspects of life we take on a part and an appearance to seem to be what we wish to be--and thus the world is merely composed of actors.

We take less pains to be happy than to appear so.

Nothing prevents one from appearing natural as the desire to appear natural.

Numberless arts appear foolish whose secret motives are most wise and weighty.

In order to succeed in the world people do their upmost to appear successful.

The largest ambition has the least appearance of ambition when it meets with an absolute impossibility in compassing its object.

What we take for virtue is often nothing but an assemblage of different actions and of different interests that fortune or our industry knows how to arrange.

A man convinced of his own merit will accept misfortune as an honor for thus can he persuade others as well as himself that he is a worthy target for the arrows of fate.

We arrive at the various stages of life quite as novices.

The accent of one's birthplace remains in the mind and in the heart as in one's speech.

We do not wish ardently for what we desire only through reason.

Moderation cannot have the credit of combatiug and subduing ambition they are never found together. Moderation is the languor and indolence of the soul as ambition is its activity and ardor.

The shame that arises from praise which we do not deserve often makes us do things we should otherwise never have attempted.

There are two sorts of constancy in love one arises from continually discovering in the loved person new subjects for love the other arises from our making a merit of being constant.

The accent of a man's native country remains in his mind and his heart as it does in his speech.

Bodily labor alleviates the pains of the mind and from this arises the happiness of the poor

The praise we give to new comers into the world arises from the envy we bear to those who are established.

Love is to the soul of him who loves what the soul is to the body which it animates.

It is easier to appear worthy of a position one does not hold than of the office which one fills.

It is impossible to love a second time what we have really ceased to love.

Extreme boredom provides its own antidote.

The only good copies are those which make us see the absurdity of bad originals.

A man may be sharper than another but not than all others.

One man may be more cunning than another but no one can be more cunning than all the world.

Jealousy is not so much the love of another as the love of ourselves.

Nothing is so capable of diminishing self-love as the observation that we disapprove at one time what we approve at another.

Jealousy is always born with love but does not die with it. In jealousy there is more of self-love than of love to another.

Even the most disinterested love is after all but a kind of bargain in which self-love always proposes to be the gainer one wayor another.

Jealousy springs more from love of self than from love of another.

Our distrust of another justifies his deceit.

Listening well and answering well is one of the greatest perfections that can be obtained in conversation.

One cannot answer for his courage when he has never been in danger.

How can we be answerable for what we shall want in the future since we have no clear idea of what we want now?

Nothing ought in reason to mortify our self-satisfaction more that the considering that we condemn at one time what we highly approve and commend at another.

Nothing should lessen our satisfaction with ourselves as much as when we notice that we disapprove of something at one time that we approve of at another time.

Often we are firm from weakness and audacious from timidity.

He that would be a great man must learn to turn every accident to some advantage.

However wicked men may be they do not dare openly to appear the enemies of virtue and when they desire to persecute her they either pretend to believe her false or attribute crimes to her.

Love has its name borrowed by a great number of dealings and affairs that are attributed to it--in which it has no greater part than the Doge in what is done at Venice.

A man of understanding finds less difficulty in submitting to a wrong-headed fellow than in attempting to set him right.

Misers mistake gold for their good; whereas 'tis only a means of attaining it.

Great men's honor ought always to be measured by the methods they made use of in attaining it.

It is oftener by the estimation of our own feelings that we exaggerate the good qualities of others than by their merit and when we praise them we wish to attract their praise.

Loyalty is in most people only a ruse used by self-interest to attract confidence.

The evil that we do does not attract to us so much persecution and hatred as our good qualities.

We often do shallow good in order to accomplish evil with impunity.

A small degree of wit accompanied by good sense is less tiresome in the long run than a great amount of wit without it.

There are no accidents so unlucky from which clever people are not able to reap some advantage and none so lucky that the foolish are not able to turn them to their own disadvantage.

There are some people upon whom their very faults and failings sit gracefully; and there are others whose very excellencies and accomplishments do not become them.

To be a great man it is necessary to turn to account all opportunities.

We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears.

The art of using moderate abilities to advantage often brings greater results than actual brilliance

People are often vain of their passions even of the worst but envy is a passion so timid and shame-faced that no one ever dare avow her.

It is sometimes necessary to play the fool to avoid being deceived by cunning men.

A man for whom accident discovers sense is not a rational being. A man only is so who understands who distinguishes who tests it.

Our aversion to lying is commonly a secret ambition to make what we say considerable and have every word received with a religious respect.

Sometimes accidents happen in life from which we have need of a little madness to extricate ourselves successfully

Some accidents there are in life that a little folly is necessary to help us out of.

There are no accidents so unlucky but the prudent may draw some advantage from them.

Sometimes there are accidents in our lives the skillful extrication from which demands a little folly.

No accidents are so unlucky [bad] but that the wise may draw some advantage [good] from them...

Avarice is more opposite to economy than liberality.

Avarice is more directly opposed to thrift than generosity is.

Avarice misapprehends itself almost always. There is no passion which more often will miss its aim nor upon which the present has so much influence to the prejudice of the future.

Passions often produce their contraries: avarice sometimes leads to prodigality and prodigality to avarice; we are often obstinate through weakness and daring through timidity.

In the human heart one generation of passions follows another; from the ashes of one springs the spark of the next.

We should often feel ashamed of our best actions if the world could see all the motives which produced them.

There are very few people who are not ashamed of having been in love when they no longer love each other.

It is most difficult to speak when we are ashamed of being silent.

There are few people who would not be ashamed of being loved when they love no longer.

We would frequently be ashamed of our good deeds if people saw all of the motives that produced them.

Virtue would go far if vanity did not keep it company.

We are very far from always knowing our own wishes.

Few are sufficiently wise to prefer censure which is useful to praise which is treacherous.

The word virtue is as useful to self-interest as the vices.

To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.

Customary use of artifice is the sign of a small mind and it almost always happens that he who uses it to cover one spot uncovers himself in another.

The dullness of certain people is sometimes a sufficient security against the attack of an artful man.

Sincerity is an openness of heart; we find it in very few people; what we usually see is only an artful dissimulation to win the confidence of others.

As we grow older we grow both more foolish and wiser at the same time.

One forgives to the degree that one loves.

The aversion to lying is often a hidden ambition to render our words credible and weighty and to attach a religious aspect to our conversation.

What makes the pain we feel from shame and jealousy so cutting is that vanity can give us no assistance in bearing them.

The only thing that should astonish us is that anything can yet astonish us.

There is no praise we have not lavished upon prudence; and yet she cannot assure to us the most trifling event.

Those who have the most cunning affect all their lives to condemn cunning; that they may make use of it on some great occasion and to some great end.

We should only affect compassion and carefully avoid having any.

We easily forgive our friends those faults that do no affect us ourselves.

The qualities we have make us so ridiculous as those which we affect.

We had better appear what we are than affect to appear what we are not.

In great affairs we ought to apply ourselves less to creating chances than to profiting from those that offer.

You can find women who have never had an affair but it is hard to find a woman who has had just one.

One can find women who have never had one love affair but it is rare indeed to find any who have had only one.

Affected simplicity is a subtle imposture.

Affected simplicity is an elegant imposture.

If we judge love by most of its effects it resembles rather hatred than affection.

It is with sincere affection or friendship as with ghosts and apparitions --a thing that everybody talks of and scarce any hath seen.

We are easily comforted for the misfortunes of our friends when those misfortunes give us an occasion of expressing our affection and solicitude.

Most women lament not the death of their lovers so much out of real affection for them as because they would appear worthy of love.

Only the great can afford to have great defects.

Whatever pretended causes we may blame our afflictions upon it is often nothing but self-interest and vanity that produce them.

In all professions each affects a look and an exterior to appear what he wishes the world to believe that he is. Thus we may say that the whole world is made up of appearances.

A man is ridiculous less through the characteristics he has than through those he affects to have.

The clemency of Princes is often but policy to win the affections of the people.

Whatever pretext we may give for our affections often it is only interest and vanity which cause them.

A man often thinks he rules himself when all the while he is ruled and managed; and while his understanding directs one design his affections imperceptibly draw him into another.

We give advice but we cannot give the wisdom to profit by it.

Old people love to give good advice; it compensates them for their inability to set a bad example.

Old men are fond of giving good advice to console themselves for their inability to give bad examples.

Old men delight in giving good advice as a consolation for the fact that they can no longer set bad examples.

It is sometimes a point of as much cleverness to know to make good use of advice from others as to be able give good advice to oneself.

Sometimes there is equal or more ability in knowing how to use good advice than there is in giving it.

Old people are fond of giving good advice; it consoles them for no longer being capable of setting a bad example.

The person giving the advice returns the confidence placed in him with a disinterested eagerness... and he is usually guided only by his own interest or reputation.

Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.

We give nothing so freely as advice.

Nothing is given so profusely as advice.

We give advice we do not inspire conduct.

Men give away nothing so liberally as their advice.

We are never so generous as when giving advice.

There is nothing men are so generous of as advice.

We may give advice but not the sense to use it.

The one thing people are the most liberal with is their advice.

Virtue would not make such advances if there were not a little vanity to keep it company.

True love is like ghosts which everyone talks about and few have seen.

Fortune converts everything to the advantage of her favorites.

Fortune turns all things to the advantage of those on whom she smiles.

There are no circumstances however unfortunate that clever people do not extract some advantage from.

However great the advantages given us by nature it is not she alone but fortune with her which makes heroes.

In infants levity is a prettiness; in men a shameful defect; but in old age a monstrous folly.

Tastes in young people are changed by natural impetuosity and in the aged are preserved by habit.

The heat of youth is not more opposed to safety than the coldness of age.

Old age is a tyrant who forbids under pain of death the pleasures of youth.

Youth changes its tastes by the warmth of its blood; age retains its tastes by habit.

The passions of youth are not more dangerous to health than is the lukewarmness of old age.

The height of ability consists in a thorough knowledge of the real value of things and of the genius of the age in which we live.

It is with an old love as it is with old age a man lives to all the miseries but is dead to all the pleasures.

People would never fall in love if they hadn't heard love talked about.

The constancy of the wise is only the talent of concealing the agitation of their hearts.

The constancy of sages is nothing but the art of locking up their agitation in their hearts.

A man often imagines that he acts when he is acted upon.

Ideas often flash across our minds more complete than we could make them after much labor.

A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring.

It is praiseworthy even to attempt a great action.

Female gossips are generally actuated by active ignorance.

To know how to hide one's ability is great skill.

We have more ability than will power and it is often an excuse to ourselves that we imagine that things are impossible.

The art of putting into play mediocre qualities often begets more reputation than is achieved by true merit.

It often happens that things come into the mind in a more finished form than could have been achieved after much study.

To achieve greatness one should live as if they will never die.

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.

Nature has concealed at the bottom of our minds talents and abilities of which we are not aware.

There are some persons who only disgust with their abilities there are persons who please even with their faults.

Ability wins us the esteem of the true men; luck that of the people.

Nature creates ability; luck provides it with opportunity.

The measure of great men should always be measured by the means they have used to acquire it.

We should scarcely desire things ardently if we were perfectly acquainted with what we desire.

In friendship as in love we are often more happy from the things we are ignorant of than from those we are acquainted with.

Very few people are acquainted with death. They undergo it commonly not so much out of resolution as custom and insensitivity; and most men die because they cannot help it.

A true friend is the greatest of all blessings and that which we take the least care of all to acquire.

Were we perfectly acquainted with the object we should never passionately desire it.

We only acknowledge small faults in order to make it appear that we are free from great ones.

We acknowledge our faults in order to repair by our sincerity the damage they have done us in the eyes of others.

We often pride ourselves on even the most criminal passions but envy is a timid and shamefaced passion we never dare to acknowledge.

We acknowledge that we should not talk of our wives; but we seem not to know that we should talk still less of ourselves.

Everyone takes pleasure in returning small obligations many people acknowledge moderate ones; but there are only a scarce few who do not pay great ones with ingratitude.

Though men are apt to flatter and exalt themselves with their great achievements yet these are in truth very often owing not so much to design as chance.

Perfect Valor is to do without a witness all that we could do before the whole world.

Perfect courage is to do without witnesses what one would be capable of doing with the world looking on.

The breeding we give young people is ordinarily but an additional self-love by which we make them have a better opinion of themselves.

We always love those who admire us but we do not always love those whom we admire.

I have always been an admirer. I regard the gift of admiration as indispensable if one is to amount to something I don't know where I would be without it

Silence is the safest course for any man to adopt who distrust himself.

No persons are more frequently wrong than those who will not admit they are wrong.

The greatest part of intimate confidences proceed from a desire either to be pitied or admired.

We always like those who admire us.

We seldom praise anyone in good earnest except such as admire us.

Behind many acts that are thought ridiculous there lie wise and weighty motives.

The most subtle of our acts is to simulate blindness for snares that we know are set for us.

If one acts rightly and honestly it is difficult to decide whether it is the effect of integrity or skill.

To boast that one never flirts is actually a kind of flirtation.

What we cut off from our other faults is very often but so much added to our pride.

The height of cleverness is to be able to conceal it.

Moderation is the feebleness and sloth of the soul whereas ambition is the warmth and activity of it.

In the human heart new passions are forever being born; the overthrow of one almost always means the rise of another.

Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.

In the misfortunes of our best friends we always find something not altogether displeasing to us.

Men's happiness and misery depends altogether as much upon their own humor as it does upon fortune.

We come altogether fresh and raw into the several stages of life and often find ourselves without experience despite our years.

However much we may distrust men's sincerity we always believe they speak to us more sincerely than to others.

Whatever distrust we may have of the sincerity of those who converse with us we always believe they will tell us more truth than they do to others.

Absence cools moderate passions and inflames violent ones; just as the wind blows out candles but kindles fires.

To think to be wise alone is a very great folly.

In the human heart there is a ceaseless birth of passions so that the destruction of one is almost always the establishment of another.

In love deceit almost always outstrips distrust.

Our hopes often though they deceive us lead us pleasantly along the path of life.

Humility is the altar upon which God wishes that we should offer Him His sacrifices.

The better part of one's life consists of his friendships. ABRAHAM LINCOLN letter to Joseph Gillespie July 13 1849 Friendship is insipid to those who have experienced love.

Neither the sun nor death can be looked at with a steady eye.

Es una prueba de poca amistad no darse cuenta del retraimiento de la de nuestros amigos.

Si juzgamos del amor por sus efectos más se parece al odio que a la amistad.

Si juzgamos el amor por la mayor parte de sus efectos se parece más al odio que a la amistad.

Lo que hace que la mayoría de las mujeres sean tan poco sensibles a la amistad es que la encuentran insípida luego de haber probado el gusto del amor.

Una amistad reanudada requiere más cuidados que la que nunca se ha roto

Por raro que sea el verdadero amor es menos raro que la verdadera amistad

Some men are so full of themselves that when they fall in love they amuse themselves rather with their own passion than with theperson they love.

Fortunate persons hardly ever amend their ways: they always imagine that they are in the right when fortune upholds their bad conduct.

Weakness of character is the only defect which cannot be amended.

The ambitious deceive themselves in proposing an end to their ambition; that end when attained becomes a means.

Men often pass from love to ambition but they seldom come back again from ambition to love.

Love often leads on to ambition but seldom does one return from ambition to love.

All our qualities whether good or bad are unstable and ambiguous and almost all are at the mery of chance.

It is great folly to wish to be wise all alone.

True bravery means doing alone that which one could do if all the world were by.

When our hatred is too alive puts us below what we hate.

Hope deceitful as it is carries us through life agreeably enough.

Hope deceiving as it is serves at least to lead us to the end of our lives by an agreeable route.

The gallantry of the mind consists in agreeable flattery.

Gallantry of mind consists in saying flattering things in an agreeable manner.

Love all agreeable as it is charms more by the fashion in which it displays itself than by its own true merit.

The reason why so few people are agreeable in conversation is that each is thinking more about what he intends to say than others are saying.

We judge so superficially of things that common words and actions spoke and done in an agreeable manner with some knowledge of what passes in the world often succeed beyond the greatest ability.

We rarely think people have good sense unless they agree with us.

We rarely ever perceive others as being sensible except for those who agree with us.

Penetration has an air of divination; it pleases our vanity more than any other quality of the mind.

Of all the violent passions the one that becomes a woman best is love.

Narrow minds think nothing right that is above their own capacity.

One may outwit another but not all the others.

We can be more clever than one but not more clever than all.

Not all those who know their minds know their hearts as well.

Everyone blames his memory no one blames his judgment.

Man only blames himself in order that he may be praised.

Our actions seem to have their lucky and unlucky stars to which a great part of that blame and that commendation is due which is given to the actions themselves.

Interest blinds some people and enlightens others.

Self-interest makes some people blind and others sharp-sighted.

No one thinks fortune so blind as those she has been least kind to.

The confidence which we have in ourselves give birth to much of that which we have in others.

What makes us so bitter against people who outwit us is that they think themselves cleverer than we are.

We have more indolence in the mind than in the body.

Idleness is more an infirmity of the mind than of the body.

Solemnity is a device of the body to hide the faults of the mind.

Gravity is a mysterious carriage of the body invented to cover the defects of the mind.

Wisdom is the mind what health is to the body.

Virtue is to the soul what health is tot he body.

Gracefulness is to the body what understanding is to the mind.

Our minds are lazier than our bodies.

We are lazier in our minds than in our bodies.

Our minds are as much given to laziness as our bodies.

Novelty is to love like bloom to fruit; it gives a luster which is easily effaced but never returns.

Tis a sort of coquetry to boast that we never coquet.

One kind of flirtation is to boast we never flirt.

A good woman is a hidden treasure; who discovers her will do well not to boast about it.

Men may boast of their great actions; but they are more often the effects of chance than of design.

We often credit ourselves with vices the reverse of what we have thus when weak we boast of our obstinacy.

Nothing ought more to humiliate men who have merited great praise than the care they still take to boast of little things.

That good disposition which boasts of being most tender is often stifled by the least urging of self-interest.

We should often blush for our very best actions if the world did but see all the motives upon which they were done.

We should often blush at our noblest deeds if the world were to see all their underlying motives.

Some people resemble ballads which are only sung for a certain time.

Some men are like ballads that are in everyone's mouth a little while.

Absence abates a moderate passion and intensifies a great one - as the wind blows out a candle but fans fire into flame.

Men are inconsolable concerning the treachery of their friends or the deceptions of their enemies; and yet they are often very highly satisfied to be both deceived and betrayed by their own selves.

More men are guilty of treason through weakness than any studied design to betray.

We are much harder on people who betray us in small ways than on people who betray others in great ones.

Fortune never seems so blind to any as to those on whom she bestows no favors.

As the great ones of this world are unable to bestow health of body or peace of mind we always pay too high a price for any good they can do.

Reconciliation with our enemies is simply a desire to better our condition a weariness of war or the fear of some unlucky thing from occurring.

Never give anyone the advice to buy or sell shares because the most benevolent price of advice can turn out badly.

A man is sometimes better off deceived about the one he loves than undeceived.

The boldest stroke and best act of friendship is not to disclose our own failings to a friend but to show him his own.

Self-love is the love of a man's own self and of everything else for his own sake. It makes people idolaters to themselves and tyrants to all the world besides.

Silence is the best security to the man who distrusts himself.

The man who leaves a woman best pleased with herself is the one whom she will soonest wish to see.

In love the quickest is always the best cure.

The greatest fault of a penetrating wit is to go beyond the mark.

Ordinary men commonly condemn what is beyond them.

Second-rate minds usually condemn everything beyond their grasp.

We only confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no big ones.

People's personalities like buildings have various facades some pleasant to view some not.

He is not to pass for a man of reason who stumbles upon reason by chance but he who knows it and can judge it and has a true taste for it.

Generally speaking we would make a good bargain by renouncing all the good that people say of us upon condition they would say no ill.

There are few occasions when we should make a bad bargain by giving up the good on condition that no ill was said of us.

Most people judge men by their success or their good fortune.

Neither love nor fire can subsist without perpetual motion; both cease to live so soon as they cease to hope or to fear.

Bravery in simple soldiers is a dangerous trade to which they have bound themselves to get their livelihood.

We often bore others when we think we cannot possibly bore them.

We often forgive those who bore us but we cannot forgive those whom we bore.

Jealously is always born with love but it does not die with it.

The truest mark of being born with great qualities is to be born without envy.

Boredom ... causes us to neglect more duties than does interest.

Jealousy is bred in doubts. When those doubts change into certainties then the passion either ceases or turns absolute madness.

Civility is a desire to receive civilities and to be accounted well-bred.

The most brilliant fortunes are often not worth the littleness required to gain them.

There are fine things that are more brilliant when they are unfinished than when finished too much.

No matter how brilliant an action it should not be considered great unless it was the result of a great motive.

No fools are so difficult to manage as those with some brains.

We are much mistaken if we think that men are always brave from a principle of valor or women chaste from a principle of modesty.

True bravery is shown by performing without witness what one might be capable of doing before all the world.

Lovers when they are no longer in love find it very hard to break up.

Perfect behavior is born of complete indifference.

Even women are perfect at the outset.

Politeness is a desire to be treated politely and to be esteemed polite oneself.

Love is one and the same in the original; but there are a thousand different copies of it.

To understand matters rightly we should understand their details; and as that knowledge is almost infinite our knowledge is always superficial and imperfect.

It is necessary in order to know things well to know the particulars of them; and these being infinite make our knowledge eversuperficial and imperfect.

Gratitude is like credit; it is the backbone of our relations; frequently we pay our debts not because equity demands that we should but to facilitate future loans.

Some beautiful things are more dazzling when they are still imperfect than when they have been too perfectly crafted.

Plenty of people want to be pious but no one yearns to be humble.

It is often hard to determine whether a clear open and honorable proceeding is the result of goodness or of cunning.

Honest people will respect us for our merit: the public for our luck.

There are bad people who would be less dangerous if they were quite devoid of goodness.

A man's wits are better employed in bearing up under the misfortunes that lie upon him at present than in foreseeing those that may come upon him hereafter.

We bear all of us the misfortunes of other people with heroic constancy.

Our self-love can less bear to have our tastes than our opinions condemned.

No men are oftener wrong than those that can least bear to be so.

Great names abase instead of elevating those who do not know how to bear them.

We are all strong enough to bear other men's misfortunes.

Preserving the serious health condition is usually painful.

Those who are themselves incapable of great crimes are ever backward to suspect others.

The more one loves a mistress the more one is ready to hate her.

Nothing is rarer than real goodness.

Were we not proud ourselves we should not complain of the pride of others.

What is perfectly true is perfectly witty.

We are strong enough to bear the misfortunes of others.

A wise man thinks it more advantageous not to join the battle than to win.

We seldom find any person of good sense except those who share our opinions.

A fool has not stuff enough to make a good man.

Flattery is a base coin which is current only through our vanity.

Reason alone is insufficient to make us enthusiastic in any matter.

In misfortune we often mistake dejection for constancy; we bear it without daring to look on it; like cowards who suffer themselves to be murdered without resistance.

Only great men have great faults.

Not all who discharge their debts of gratitude should flatter themselves that they are grateful.

I always say to myself what is the most important thing we can think about at this extraordinary moment.

The mark of extraordinary merit is to see those most envious of it constrained to praise.

Nothing is so catching as example.

Nothing is so contagious as example.

Beautiful coquettes are quacks of love.

Vanity shame and above all disposition often make men brave and women chaste.

It is not always from valor or from chastity that men are brave and women chaste.

We often boast that we are never bored; but yet we are so conceited that we do not perceive how often we bore others.

We always get bored with those whom we bore.

There are few virtuous women who are not bored with their trade.

We are almost always bored by just those whom we must not find boring.

The reason why lovers are never bored together is that they are always talking of themselves.

We are always bored by the very people by whom it is vital not to be bored.

A gentleman may love like a lunatic but not like a beast.

Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms inside your head and people in them acting. People you know yet can't quite name.

Nothing hinders a thing from being natural so much as the straining ourselves to make it seem so.

The prospect of being pleased tomorrow will never console me for the boredom of today.

Not to love is in love an infallible means of being loved.

There is a sort of love whose very excessiveness prevents the lover's being jealous.

Those that have had great passions esteem themselves for the rest of their lives fortunate and unfortunate in being cured of them.

The sure mark of one born with noble qualities is being born without envy.

It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.

When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

The intention of cheating no one lays us open to being cheated ourselves.

None deserve praise for being good who have not the spirit to be bad: goodness for the most part is nothing but indolence or weakness of will.

It is worth nothing to be young without being beautiful nor to be beautiful without being young.

We are inconsolable at being deceived by our enemies and being betrayed by our friends yet we are often content in be being treated like that by our own selves.

Strength and weakness of mind are misnomers; they are really nothing but the good or bad health of our bodily organs.

It seems that nature which has so wisely disposed our bodily organs with a view to our happiness has also bestowed on us pride to spare us the pain of being aware of our imperfections.

Raillery is more insupportable than wrong; because we have a right to resent injuries but are ridiculous in being angry at a jest.

The surest proof of being endowed with noble qualities is to be free from envy.

When a man must force himself to be faithful in his love this is hardly better than unfaithfulness.

The desire to seem clever often keeps us from being so.

Nature seems at each man's birth to have marked out the bounds of his virtues and vices and to have determined how good or how wicked that man shall be capable of being.

We may seem great in an employment below our worth but we very often look little in one that is too big for us.

We are better pleased to see those on whom we confer benefits than those from whom we receive them.

A man seldom finds people unthankful as long as he remains in a condition of benefiting them further.

Gratitude is a lively sense of benefits to come.

The gratitude of most men is but a secret desire of receiving greater benefits.

A clever man reaps some benefit from the worst catastrophe and a fool can turn even good luck to his disadvantage.

A man is perhaps ungrateful but often less chargeable with ingratitude than his benefactor is.

When our hatred is violent it sinks us even beneath those we hate.

We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves.

We are eager to believe that others are flawed because we are eager to believe in what we wish for.

In love we often doubt what we most believe.

When we are in love we often doubt that which we most believe.

When a man is in love he doubts very often what he most firmly believes.

We may say of agreeableness as distinct from beauty that it is a symmetry whose rules are unknown.

There are few women whose charm survives their beauty.

Moral severity in women is only a dress or paint which they use to set off their beauty.

It takes more strength of character to withstand good fortune than bad.

We often brag that we are never bored with ourselves and are so vain as never to think ourselves bad company.

The desire to be thought clever often prevents a man from becoming so.

As one grows older one becomes wiser and more foolish.

It requires greater virtues to support good fortune than bad.

Great and glorious events which dazzle the beholder are represented by politicians as the outcome of grand designs whereas they are usually products of temperaments and passions.

It is easy to be wise on behalf of others than to be so for ourselves.

The strongest symptom of wisdom in man is his being sensible of his own follies.

Being a blockhead is sometimes the best security against being cheated by a man of wit.

There is no better proof of a man's being truly good than his desiring to be constantly under the observation of good men.

The good or the bad fortune of men depends not less upon their own dispositions than upon fortune.

Good and bad fortune are found severally to visit those who have the most of the one or the other.

We get so much in the habit of wearing disguises before others that we finally appear disguised before ourselves.

It is much better to learn to deal with the ills we have now than to speculate on those that may befall us.

The old begin to complain of the conduct of the young when they themselves are no longer able to set a bad example.

Humility is often only a feigned submissiveness by which men hope to bring other people to submit to them; it is a more calculated sort of pride.

We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation.

Before strongly desiring anything we should look carefully into the happiness of its present owner.

Time's chariot-wheels make their carriage-road in the fairest face.

Spiritual health is no more stable than bodily; and though we may seem unaffected by the passions we are just as liable to be carried away by them as to fall ill when in good health.

How deceitful hope may be yet she carries us on pleasantly to the end of life.

Minds of moderate caliber ordinarily condemn everthing which is beyond their range.

We have not strength enough to follow our reason so far as it would carry us.

Pride indemnifies itself and loses nothing even when it casts away vanity.

There are follies as catching as contagious disorders.

Some follies are caught like contagious diseases.

Conceit causes more conversation than wit.

Jealousy is the greatest of all evils and the one that arouses the least pity in the person who causes it.

No man can love a second time the person whom he has once truly ceased to love.

Considering how little the beginning or the ceasing to love is in our own power it is foolish and unreasonable for the lover or his mistress to complain of one another's inconstancy.

It is almost always a fault of one who loves not to realize when he ceases to be loved.

Jealousy lives upon doubts. It becomes madness or ceases entirely as soon as we pass from doubt to certainty.

Love like fire cannot subsist without constant impulse; it ceases to live from the moment it ceases to hope or to fear.

What is called liberality is often merely the vanity of giving.

We can never be certain of our courage until we have faced danger....

Most men like plants possess hidden qualities which chance discovers.

Taste may change but inclination never.

The only thing constant in life is change

It is as common for tastes to change as it is uncommon for traits of character.

The moderation of fortunate people comes from the calm which good fortune gives to their tempers.

Moderation in people who are contented comes from that calm that good fortune lends to their spirit.

What renders us so changeable in our friendship is that it is difficult to know the qualities of the soul but easy to know those of the mind.

The thing that makes our friendships so short and changeable is that the qualities and dispositions of the soul are very hard to know and those of the understanding and wit very easy.

As it is the characteristic of great wits to say much in few words so small wits seem to have the gift of speaking much and saying nothing.

Coquetry is the essential characteristic and the prevalent humor of women; but they do not all practice it because the coquetry of some is restrained by fear or by reason.

Politeness of mind consists in thinking chaste and refined thoughts.

The sure way to be cheated is to think one's self more cunning than others.

It is with true love as it is with ghosts; everyone talks about it but few have seen it.

The rust of business is sometimes polished off in a camp; but never in a court.

Flattery is a counterfeit money which but for vanity would have no circulation.

Familiarity is a suspension of almost all the laws of civility which libertinism has introduced into society under the notion of ease.

Clemency which we make a virtue of proceeds sometimes from vanity sometimes from indolence often from fear and almost always from a mixture of all three.

Passion often renders the most clever man a fool and sometimes renders the most foolish man clever.

No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does.

Passion often makes a fool of the cleverest man and often makes the most foolish men clever

A clever man should handle his interests so that each will fall in suitable order of their value.

There are but very few men clever enough to know all the mischief they do.

Passion makes idiots of the cleverest men and makes the biggest idiots clever.

It is a great act of cleverness to be able to conceal one's being clever.

Too great cleverness is but deceptive delicacy true delicacy is the most substantial cleverness.

The principal point of cleverness is to know how to value things just as they deserve.

It is not expedient or wise to examine our friends too closely; few persons are raised in our esteem by a close examination.

Our enemies' opinion of us comes closer to the truth than our own.

Many young persons believe themselves natural when they are only impolite and coarse.

Flattery is false coin that is only current thanks to our vanity

The vices enter into the composition of the virtues as poisons into that of medicines. Prudence collects and arranges them and uses them beneficially against the ills of life.

We often are consoled by our want of reason for misfortunes that reason could not have comforted.

It is as commendable to think well of oneself when alone as it is ridiculous to speak well of oneself among others.

Friendship is only a reciprocal conciliation of interests and an exchange of good offices; it is a species of commerce out of which self-love always expects to gain something.

Gratitude is like the good faith of traders: it maintains commerce and we often pay not because it is just to discharge our debts but that we may more readily find people to trust us.

All the passions make us commit faults; love makes us commit the most ridiculous ones.

There are certain people fated to be fools; they not only commit follies by choice but are even constrained to do so by fortune.

Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them in others.

He who lives without committing any folly is not so wise as he thinks. [Fr. Qui vit sans folie n'est pas si sage qu'il croit.]

The greatest part of our faults are more excusable than the methods that are commonly taken to conceal them.

Philosophy finds it an easy matter to vanquish past and future evils but the present are commonly too hard for it.

Commonplace minds usually condemn what is beyond the reach of their understanding.

The truest comparison we can make of love is to liken it to a fever; we have no more power over the one than the other either as to its violence or duration.

The wind which snuffs the candle fans the fire.

We love much better those who endeavor to imitate us than those who strive to equal us. For imitation is a sign of esteem but competition of envy.

People always complain about their memories never about their minds.

If we did not have pride we would not complain of it in others.

There are few people more convinced of their own genius than those who complain of how stupid they are.

Everyone complains of his memory and nobody complains of his judgment.

Every one complains of a poor memory no one of a weak judgment.

The moderation of people in prosperity is the effect of a smooth and composed temper owing to the calm of their good fortune.

It is from a weakness and smallness of mind that men are opinionated; and we are very loath to believe what we are not able to comprehend.

That which occasions so many mistakes in the computations of men when they expect return for favors is that the giver's pride and the receiver's cannot agree upon the value of the kindness done.

Weak people cannot be sincere.

The contempt of riches in the philosophers was a concealed desire of revenging on fortune the injustice done to their merit by despising the good she denied them.

There is great skill in knowing how to conceal one's skill.

It requires no small degree of ability to know when to conceal one's ability.