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Vauvenargues (1715–1747). Selections from the Characters, Reflexions and Maxims. 1903.


Lycas, or the Firm Man

TO a self-reliant, bold, and imperious nature Lycas unites a spirit of reflexion and profundity which moderates the counsels of his passions, which leads him by impenetrable motives, and causes him to advance to his ends by a variety of roads. He is one of those long-sighted men who consider events from afar, who always finish any design they have begun, who, in order to attain their end, know how to yield or to resist at the right moment, who are capable, I will not say of dissembling a misfortune or an offence, but of raising themselves above it instead of allowing themselves to be depressed by it. They are deep natures, independent by their firmness in suffering all, in daring all; who, whether they resist their inclinations through foresight or whether from pride and a secret consciousness of their resources, they defy what is called prudence, always in good as in evil cheat the most acute conjectures, so greatly does their habit of being master of themselves lead them to display what of their character or their ruling passions they desire to let others see.