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C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.

La Rochefoucauld

A fashionable woman is always in love—with herself.

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

A lofty mind always thinks nobly, it easily creates vivid, agreeable, and natural fancies, places them in their best light, clothes them with all appropriate adornments, studies others’ tastes, and clears away from its own thoughts all that is useless and disagreeable.

A man does not please long when he has only one species of wit.

A man of wit would often be much embarrassed without the company of fools.

A man who finds no satisfaction in himself seeks for it in vain elsewhere.

A man who is always well satisfied with himself is seldom so with others, and others as little pleased with him.

A man’s desires always disappoint him; for though he meets with something that gives him satisfaction, yet it never thoroughly answers his expectation.

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

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

Absence extinguishes small passions and increases great ones, as the wind will blow out a candle and blow in a fire.

Affected simplicity is refined imposture.

Age is a tyrant who forbids at the penalty of life all the pleasures of youth.

All who know their own minds know not their own hearts.

All women seem by nature to be coquettes.

Almost everyone takes pleasure in repaying trifling obligations, very many feel gratitude for those that are moderate; but there is scarcely anyone who is not ungrateful for those that are weighty.

Although men flatter themselves with their great actions, they are not so often the result of a great design as of chance.

As it is the characteristic of great wits to say much in few words, so it is of small wits to talk much and say nothing.

As love increases, prudence diminishes.

As we grow old we become more foolish and more wise.

Avarice is more opposite to economy than liberality.

Avarice often produces opposite effects; there is an infinite number of people who sacrifice all their property to doubtful and distant expectations; others despise great future advantages to obtain present interests of a trifling nature.

Beautiful coquettes are quacks of love.

Before we passionately desire anything which another enjoys, we should examine into the happiness of its possessor.

Bodily labor alleviates the pains of the mind; and hence arises the happiness of the poor.

Chance corrects us of many faults that reason would not know how to correct.

Civility is but a desire to receive civility, and to be esteemed polite.

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.

Conceit causes more conversation than wit.

Confidence always pleases those who receive it. It is a tribute we pay to their merit, a deposit we commit to their trust, a pledge that gives them a claim upon us, a kind of dependence to which we voluntarily submit.

Confidence in conversation has a greater share than wit.

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

Cunning and treachery are the offspring of incapacity.

Decency is the least of all laws, yet the law which is most strictly observed.

Dishonest men conceal their faults from themselves as well as others; honest men know and confess them.

Envy is more irreconcilable than hatred.

Esteem has more engaging charms than friendship, and even love. It captivates hearts better, and never makes ingrates.

Even women are perfect at the outset.

Every one complains of the badness of his memory, but nobody of his judgment.

Everybody takes pleasure in returning small obligations; many go so far as to acknowledge moderate ones; but there is hardly any one who does not repay great obligations with ingratitude.

Everyone agrees that a secret should be kept intact, but everyone does not agree as to the nature and importance of secrecy. Too often we consult ourselves as to what we should say, what we should leave unsaid. There are few permanent secrets, and the scruple against revealing them will not last forever.

Extreme avarice is nearly always mistaken; there is no passion which is oftener further away from its mark, nor upon which the present has so much power to the prejudice of the future.

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

Fancy sets the value on the gifts of fortune.

Female gossips are generally actuated by active ignorance.

Few men are so clever as to know all the mischief they do.

Few people know death, we only endure it, usually from determination, and even from stupidity and custom; and most men only die because they know not how to prevent dying.

Few people know how to be old.

Few persons have sufficient wisdom to prefer censure which is useful to them to praise which deceives them.

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

Few things are needed to make a wise man happy; nothing can make a fool content; that is why most men are miserable.

Flattery is a sort of bad money, to which our vanity gives currency.

For the credit of virtue we must admit that the greatest misfortunes of men are those into which they fall through their crimes.

Fortune and caprice govern the world.

Fortune never seems so blind as to those upon whom she confers no favors.

Fortune turns everything to the advantage of her favorites.

Friendship is a traffic wherein self-love always proposes to be the gainer.

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

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

Good taste comes more from the judgment than from the mind.

Grace is to the body what good sense is to the mind.

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.

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

Great men should not have great faults.

Great minds lower, instead of elevate, those who do not know how to support them.

Great souls are not those who have fewer passions and more virtues than the common, but those only who have greater designs.

Had we not faults of our own we should take less pleasure in observing those of others.

Happiness is in taste and not in things; and it is by having what we love that we are happy, not by having what others find agreeable.

Hatred is stronger than friendship.

He is a truly good man who desires always to bear the inspection of good men.

He is not a reasonable man who by chance stumbles upon reason, but he who derives it from knowledge, from discernment, and from taste.

He is safe who admits no one to his confidence.

He who imagines he can do without the world deceives himself much; but he who fancies the world cannot do without him is still more mistaken.

High titles debase, instead of elevate, those who know not how to support them.

Hope, deceitful as she is, serves at least to conduct us through life by an agreeable path.

How can we expect another to keep our secret if we cannot keep it ourselves.

However brilliant an action, it should not be esteemed great unless the result of a great motive.

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

However resplendent an action may be, it should not be accounted great unless it is the result of a great design.

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

Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.

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

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

If a man fancies that he loves his mistress for her own sake, he is very much mistaken.

If vanity does not entirely overthrow the virtues, at least it makes them all totter.

If we had no defects ourselves, we should not take so much pleasure in noting those of others.

If we never flattered ourselves we should have but scant pleasure.

If we resist our passions it is more from their weakness than from our strength.

If we would not flatter ourselves, the flattery of others could not harm us.

In all professions every one affects a particular look and exterior, in order to appear what he wishes to be thought; so that it may be said the world’s made up of appearances.

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

In love the deceit generally outstrips the distrust.

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.

In the adversity of our best friends we often find something which does not displease us.

In the intercourse of life we please, often, more by our defects than by our good qualities.

Indolence, languid as it is, often masters both passions and virtues.

Innocence finds not near so much protection as guilt.

Interest blinds some people, and enlightens others.

Interest speaks all languages, and acts all parts, even that of disinterestedness itself.

Intrepidity is an extraordinary strength of soul, which raises it above the troubles, disorders and emotions which the sight of great perils can arouse in it; by this strength heroes maintain a calm aspect and preserve their reason and liberty in the most surprising and terrible accidents.

It is a species of coquetry to make a parade of never practising it.

It is as common for men to change their taste as it is uncommon for them to change their inclination.

It is as easy to deceive one’s self without perceiving it as it is difficult to deceive others without their finding it out.

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

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

It is far better to be deceived than undeceived by those whom we tenderly love.

It is given to few persons to keep this secret well. Those who lay down rules too often break them, and the safest we are able to give is to listen much, to speak little, and to say nothing that will ever give ground for regret.

It is great folly to wish only to be wise.

It Is more difficult for a man to be faithful to his mistress when he is favored than when he is ill treated by her.

It is more disgraceful to distrust than to be deceived by our friends.

It is much easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy those that follow.

It is never so difficult to speak as when we are ashamed of our silence.

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

It is only people who possess firmness who can possess true gentleness. In those who appear gentle, it is generally only weakness, which is readily converted into harshness.

It is our own vanity that makes the vanity of others intolerable to us.

It is praiseworthy even to attempt a great action.

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

It is the prerogative of great men only to have great defects.

It is valueless to a woman to be young unless pretty, or to be pretty unless young.

It is with certain good qualities as with the senses; those who are entirely deprived of them can neither appreciate nor comprehend them.

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

It may be said that the vices await us in the journey of life like hosts with whom we must successively lodge; and I doubt whether experience would make us avoid them if we were to travel the same road a second time.

It seems that nature has concealed at the bottom of our minds, talents and abilities of which we are not aware. The passions alone have the privilege of bringing them to light, and of giving us sometimes views more certain and more perfect than art could possibly produce.

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.

Jealousy is always born with love, but does not always die with it.

Jealousy is not love, but self-love.

Jealousy lives upon distrust, becomes madness, or ceases entirely, when we pass from doubt to certainty.

Kings do with men as with pieces of money; they give them what value they please, and we are obliged to receive them at their current and not at their real value.

Lawless are they that make their wills their law.

Love is the smallest part of gallantry.

Magnanimity is sufficiently defined by its name, nevertheless one can say it is the good sense of pride, the most noble way of receiving praise.

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

Man’s chief wisdom consists in being sensible of his follies.

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

Men are more satirical from vanity than from malice.

Men are not only prone to forget benefits; they even hate those who have obliged them, and cease to hate those who have injured them. The necessity of revenging an injury, or of recompensing a benefit seems a slavery to which they are unwilling to submit.

Men are oftener treacherous through weakness than design.

Men give away nothing so liberally as their advice.

Men more easily renounce their interests than their tastes.

Men would not live long in society if they were not the dupes of each other.

Minds of moderate calibre ordinarily condemn everything which is beyond their range.

Misers mistake gold for their good; whereas it is only the means of obtaining it.

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

Moderation resembles temperance. We are not so unwilling to eat more, as afraid of doing ourselves harm by it.

Mon speak but little when vanity does not induce them to speak.

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

Most frequently we make confidants from vanity, a love of talking, a wish to win the confidence of others, and to make an exchange of secrets.

Narrowness of mind is often the cause of obstinacy; we do not easily believe beyond what we see.

Nature makes merit, and fortune puts it to work.

Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily.

No disguise can long conceal love where it is, nor feign it where it is not.

No man can answer for his own valor or courage till he has been in danger.

None but the contemptible are apprehensive of contempt.

Nothing is impossible; there are ways which lead to everything; and if we had sufficient will we should always have sufficient means.

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

Nothing is so contagious as example; never was there any considerable good or ill done that does not produce its like. We imitate good actions through emulation, and bad ones through a malignity in our nature, which shame conceals, and example sets at liberty.

Nothing rarer than real goodness.

Nothing so much prevents our being natural as the desire of appearing so.

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

Old age is a tyrant, which forbids the pleasures of youth on pain of death.

Old fools are more foolish than young ones.

One honor won is a surety for more.

One thing which makes us find so few people who appear reasonable and agreeable in conversation is, that there is scarcely any one who does not think more of what he is about to say than of answering precisely what is said to him.

Our actions are like the terminations of verses, which we rhyme as we please.

Our distrust justifies the deceit of others.

Our enemies come nearer the truth in the opinions they form of us than we do in our opinion of ourselves.

Our merit gains us the esteem of the virtuous; our star, that of the public.

Our probity is not less at the mercy of fortune than our property.

Our virtues are commonly disguised vices.

Our wisdom is no less at fortune’s mercy than our wealth.

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

People would not long remain in social life if they were not the dupes of each other.

Perfect valor is to do unwitnessed what we should be capable of doing before all the world.

Philosophy triumphs easily over past and future evils, but present evils triumph over philosophy.

Pity is a sense of our own misfortunes in those of another man; it is a sort of foresight of the disasters which may befall ourselves. We assist others, in order that they may assist us on like occasions; so that the services we offer to the unfortunate are in reality so many anticipated kindnesses to ourselves.

Preserving the health by too strict a regimen is a wearisome malady.

Pride, which inspires us with so much envy, serves also to moderate it.

Prudence and love are inconsistent; in proportion as the last increases, the other decreases.

Quarrels would not last long if the fault was only on one side.

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

Repentance is not so much remorse for what we have done as the fear of consequences.

Satire is at once the most agreeable and most dangerous of mental qualities. It always pleases when it is refined, but we always fear those who use it too much; yet satire should be allowed when unmixed with spite, and when the person satirized can join in the satire.

Selfishness is the grand moving principle of nine-tenths of our actions.

Self-love increases or diminishes for us the good qualities of our friends, in proportion to the satisfaction we feel with them; and we judge of their merit by the manner in which they act towards us.

Self-love is more cunning than the most cunning man in the world.

Self-love is the greatest of flatterers.

Self-love, as it happens to be well or ill conducted, constitutes virtue and vice.

Silence is the best resolve for him who distrusts himself.

Simplicity is a delicate imposition.

Sincerity is an openness of heart; it is found in a very few people, and that which we see commonly is not it, but a subtle dissimulation, to gain the confluence of others.

Some people with great merit are very disgusting; others with great faults are very pleasing.

Some weak people are so sensible of their weakness as to be able to make a good use of it.

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

Sometimes we lose friends for whose loss our regret is greater than our grief, and others for whom our grief is greater than our regret.

That conduct sometimes seems ridiculous, in the eyes of the world, the secret reasons for which, may, in reality, be wise and solid.

The accent of our native country dwells in the heart and mind, as well as on the tongue.

The ambitious deceive themselves when they propose an end to their ambition; for that end, when attained, becomes a means.

The art of putting well into play mediocre qualities often begets more reputation than true merit achieves.

The art of using moderate abilities to advantage wins praise, and often acquires more reputation than actual brilliancy.

The blindness of men is the most dangerous effect of their pride; it seems to nourish and augment it; it deprives them of knowledge of remedies which can solace their miseries and can cure their faults.

The common foible of women who have been handsome is to forget that they are no longer so.

The common practice of cunning is the sign of a small genius; it almost always happens that those who use it to cover themselves in one place lay themselves open in another.

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

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

The constancy of the wise is only the art of keeping disquietude to one’s self.

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.

The defects of the mind, like those of the face, grow worse as we grow old.

The desire of appearing clever often prevents our becoming so.

The extreme pleasure we take in talking of ourselves should make us fear that we give very little to those who listen to us.

The fame of great men ought always to be estimated by the means used to acquire it.

The gallantry of the mind consists in agreeable flattery.

The generality of friends puts us out of conceit with friendship; just as the generality of religious people puts us out of conceit with religion.

The generality of men have, like plants, latent properties, which chance wrings to light.

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

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

The greatest miracle of love is the cure of coquetry.

The greatest of all cunning is to seem blind to the snares which we know to be laid for us. Men are never so easily deceived as while they are endeavoring to deceive others.

The happiness and misery of men depend no less on temper than fortune.

The head is ever the dupe of the heart.

The health of the soul is as precarious as that of the body; for when we seem secure from passions, we are no less in danger of their infection than we are of falling ill when we appear to be well.

The intellect of the generality of women serves more to fortify their folly than their reason.

The less you trust others, the less you will be deceived.

The love of glory, the fear of shame, the design of making a fortune, the desire of rendering life easy and agreeable, and the humor of pulling down other people, are often the causes of that valor so celebrated among men.

The man who has never been in danger cannot answer for his courage.

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

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

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

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

The most dangerous weakness of old people who have been amiable is to forget they are no longer so.

The most sure method of subjecting yourself to be deceived is to consider yourself more cunning than others.

The most violent passions give some respite, but vanity always disturbs us.

The ordinary employment of artifice is the mark of a petty mind; and it almost always happens that he who uses it to cover himself in one place uncovers himself in another.

The passions are the only orators that always persuade; they are, as it were, a natural art, the rules of which are infallible; and the simplest man with passion is more persuasive than the most eloquent without it.

The pleasure of love is in loving. We are happier in the passion we feel than in that we inspire.

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

The reason for misreckoning in expected returns of gratitude is that the pride of the giver and receiver can never agree about the value of the obligation.

The reason why lovers are never weary of one another is this—they are always talking of themselves.

The refusal of praise is only the wish to be praised twice.

The secret of pleasing in conversation is not to explain too much everything; to say them half and leave a little for divination is a mark of the good opinion we have of others, and nothing flatters their self-love more.

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

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.

The virtues and vices are all put in motion by interest.

The virtues are lost in self-interest, as rivers in the sea.

The vivacity that augments with years is not far from folly.

The world more frequently recompenses the appearance of merit, than merit itself.

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

There are crimes which become innocent, and even glorious through their splendor, number and excess.

There are different kinds of curiosity—one of interest, which causes us to learn that which would be useful to us, and the other of pride which springs from a desire to know that of which others are ignorant.

There are falsehoods which represent truth so well that it would be judging ill not to be deceived by them.

There are few people who are more often in the wrong than those who cannot endure to be so.

There are few people who are not ashamed of their amours when the fit is over.

There are few women whose charm, survives their beauty.

There are follies as catching as contagious disorders.

There are good marriages, but there are no delightful ones.

There are heroes in evil as well as in good.

There are many women who never have had one intrigue; but there are few who have had only one.

There are no accidents so unfortunate from which skillful men will not draw some advantage, nor so fortunate that foolish men will not turn them to their hurt.

There are people who, like new songs, are in vogue only for a time.

There are several remedies which will cure love, but there are no infallible ones.

There are some faults which, when well managed, make a greater figure than virtue itself.

There are two kinds of constancy in love, one arising from incessantly finding in the loved one fresh objects to love, the other from regarding it as a point of honor to be constant.

There is a kind of elevation which does not depend on fortune. It is a certain air which distinguishes us, and seems to destine us for great things; it is a price which we imperceptibly set on ourselves. By this quality we usurp the deference of other men; and it puts us, in general, more above them than birth, dignity, or even merit itself.

There is an eloquent silence which serves to approve or to condemn: there is a silence of discretion and of respect.

There is as much eloquence in the tone of the voice, in the eyes, and in the air of a speaker as in his choice of words.

There is merit without elevation, but there is no elevation without some merit.

There is nearly as much ability requisite to know how to profit by good advice as to know how to act for one’s self.

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

Those great actions whose luster dazzles us are represented by politicians as the effects of deep design; whereas they are commonly the effects of caprice and passion.

Those only are despicable who fear to be despised.

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.

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

Those who bestow too much application on trifling things become generally incapable of great ones.

Those whom the world has delighted to honor have oftener been influenced in their doings by ambition and vanity than by patriotism.

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

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

To be deceived by our enemies and betrayed by our friends is not to be borne; yet are we often content to be served so by ourselves.

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

To praise great actions with sincerity may be said to be taking part in them.

Too great refinement is false delicacy.

True Bravery is shown by performing, without witnesses, what one might be capable of doing before all the world.

True eloquence consists in saying all that is necessary, and nothing but what is necessary.

Truth does not do so much good in the world as the appearance of it does evil.

Truth is the foundation and the reason of the perfection of beauty, for of whatever stature a thing may be, it cannot be beautiful and perfect, unless it be truly what it should be, and possess truly all that it should have.

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

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

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

We are almost always wearied in the company of persons with whom we are not permitted to be weary.

We are always much better pleased to see those whom we have obliged than those who have obliged us.

We are never so happy, nor so unhappy, as we suppose ourselves to be.

We are never so ridiculous from the habits we have as from those we affect to have.

We are not fond of praising, and never praise any one except from interested motives. Praise is a clever, concealed, and delicate flattery, which gratifies in different ways the giver and the receiver. The one takes it as a recompense of his merit, and the other bestows it to display his equity and discernment.

We are often more agreeable through our faults than through our good qualities.

We are so accustomed to masquerade ourselves before others that we end by deceiving ourselves.

We are sometimes as different from ourselves as we are from others.

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

We easily forget those faults which are known only to ourselves.

We frequently pass from love to ambition, but one seldom returns from ambition to love.

We give advice, but we do not inspire conduct.

We have all of us sufficient fortitude to bear the misfortunes of others.

We have few faults that are not more excusable in themselves than are the means which we use to conceal them.

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

We have more power than will; and it is often by way of excuse to ourselves that we fancy things are impossible.

We love everything on our own account; we even follow our own taste and inclination when we prefer our friends to ourselves; and yet it is this preference alone that constitutes true and perfect friendship.

We may forgive those who bore us, we cannot forgive those whom we bore.

We may say of agreeableness, as distinct from beauty, that it consists in a symmetry of which we know not the rules, and a secret conformity of the features to each other, and to the air and complexion of the person.

We need greater virtues to sustain good than evil fortune.

We need not be much concerned about those faults which we have the courage to own.

We never desire ardently what we desire rationally.

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 often glory in the most criminal passion; but that of envy is so shameful that we dare not even own it.

We often shed tears which deceive ourselves after having deceived others.

We pardon as long as we love.

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

We say little if not egged on by vanity.

We seldom find people ungrateful as long as we are in a condition to render them services.

We seldom find persons whom we acknowledge to be possessed of good sense, except those who agree with us in opinion.

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.

We should often be ashamed of our very best actions, if the world only saw the motives which caused them.

We should often have reason to be ashamed of our most brilliant actions if the world could see the motives from which they spring.

We should wish for few things with eagerness, if we perfectly knew the nature of that which was the object of our desire.

We sometimes think we hate flattery, when we only hate the manner in which we have been flattered.

We speak little if not egged on by vanity.

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

We think very few people sensible except those who are of our opinion.

We try to make a virtue of vices we are loth to correct.

We would rather speak ill of ourselves than not to talk of ourselves at all.

Weak persons cannot be sincere.

Weakness is more opposed to virtue than is vice.

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

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

Were we to take as much pains to be what we ought to be as we do to disguise what we really are, we might appear like ourselves without being at the trouble of any disguise at all.

What is commonly called friendship is no more than a partnership; a reciprocal regard for one another’s interests, and an exchange of good offices; in a word, a mere traffic, wherein self-love always proposes to be a gainer.

What makes false reckoning, as regards gratitude, is that the pride of the giver and the receiver cannot agree as to the value of the benefit.

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

What seems generosity is often disguised ambition, that despises small to run after greater interests.

What we take for virtues is often nothing but an assemblage of different actions, and of different interests, that fortune or our industry know how to arrange; and it is not always from valor and from chastity that men are valiant, and that women are chaste.

Whatever difference may appear in the fortunes of mankind, there is, nevertheless, a certain compensation of good and evil which makes them equal.

Whatever discoveries we may have made in the regions of self-love, there still remain many unknown lands.

Whatever disgrace we have merited, it is almost always in our power to re-establish our reputation.

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.

When a man seems to be wise, it is merely that his follies are proportionate to his age and fortune.

When our hatred is too keen it places us beneath those we hate.

When our vices have left us, we flatter ourselves that we have left them.

When the heart is still agitated by the remains of a passion, we are more ready to receive a new one than when we are entirely cured.

When we exaggerate the tenderness of our friends towards us, it is often less from gratitude than from a desire to exhibit our own merit.

Who lives without folly is not so wise as he thinks.

Wisdom is to the soul what health is to the body.

Wit sometimes enables us to act rudely with impunity.

Women can less easily surmount their coquetry than their passions.

Women know not the whole of their coquetry.

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

Youth is a continual intoxication; it is the fever of reason.