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Excess of ceremony shews want of breeding. That civility is best, which excludes all superfluous formality.
Ingratitude is a crime so shameful, that the man was never yet found , who would acknowledge himself guilty of it.
Truth is born with us; and we must do violence to nature , to shake off our veracity.
No man has a thorough taste of prosperity, to whom adversity never happened. When our vices leave us ,
we flatter ourselves that we leave them.
Anger may glance into the breast of a wise man, but rests only in the bosom of fools. By taking revenge ,
a man is but even with his enemy, but in passing it over, he is superior.
To err is human; to forgive, divine.
A more glorious victory cannot be gained over another man, than this; that when the injury began on his part, the kindness should begin on ours.
We should take a prudent care for the future, but so as to enjoy the present. It is not the part of wisdom to be miserable to-day, because we may happen to be so to-morrow
Some would be thought to do great things, who are but tools and instruments; like the fool who fancied he played upon the organ , when he only blew the bellows.
It is ungenerous to give a man occasion to blush at his own ignorance in one thing, who perhaps may excel us in many.
No object is more pleasing to the eye, than the sight of a man whom
have obliged ; nor any music so agreeable to the
as the voice of one that owns you for his benefactor.
It is the infirmity of little minds to be taken with every appearance,
and dazzled with every thing that sparkles ; but great minds have but little admiration , because few things appear new to them.
It happens to men of learning, as to ears of corn; they shoot up, and raise their heads high, while they are empty; but when full, and swelled with grain , they begin to flag and droop.
When Darius offered Alexander ten thousand talents to divide Asia equally with him, he answered, the earth cannot bear two suns, nor Asia two kings. Parmenio, a friend of Alexander's , hearing the great offers Darius had made, said:Were I Alexan der, I would accept them. So would I, replied Alexander , were I Parmenio.
The latter part of a wise man's life is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices , and false opinions he had contracted in the former.
He who tells a lye is not sensible how great a task he undertakes : for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain
A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong ; which is but saying in other words, that he is wiser to-day than he was yesterday.
Whenever I find a great deal of gratitude in a poor man, I take it for granted there would be as much generosity if he were a rich man.
It often happens that those are the best people, whose characters have been most injured by slanderers : as we usually find that to be the sweetest fruit, which the birds have been pecking at.
Manis but a composition of good and evil; diamonds have flaws, and roses have prickles; and the sun has its shade, and the moon her spots.
Pride should be by young men carefully. avoided, by old men utterly despised , and by all men suspected and feared. Some things are wanting to poverty,
but all things are wanting to avarice.
To be angry is to revenge the faults of others upon ourselves.
This is a law that should be observed betwixt the giver and the receiver : the one should instantly forget the benefit he has conferred, and the other should always have it in remembrance.
Among the precepts , and aphorisms admitted by general consent, and inculcated by frequent repetition, there is none so famous amongst the masters of ancient wisdom, as that compendious lesson : « Be ac
quainted with thyself. »
Superficial people are more agreeable the first time you are in their company, than ever afterwards : Men of judgment improve every succeeding conversation ; beware therefore of judging by one interview.
People are very apt to compare their present situation with the best that is past, or with a better of other people's ; whereas quite the contrary would always be more politic, and generally more reasonable. Men and statues that are admired in an
elevated situation have a very different effect upon us, when we approach them. The first appear less than we imagined them, the last bigger.
A man writes very often much better than he lives : he proposes his schemes of life in a state of abstraction and disengagement, exempt from the enticements of hope, the solicitations of affections, the im portunities of appetite, or the depressions of fear, and is in the same state with him that teaches upon land the art of navigation, to whom the sea is always smooth, and the wind always prosperous.
What sculpure is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul. The philosopher, the saint , the hero , the wise, the good, or the great man lye hid and concealed in a plebeian, which a proper education might have disinterred and brought to light.
Anciently the Romans worshipped virtue and honour for gods : whence it was thať they built two temples, which were so seated, as none could enter the temple of honour without passing through the temple cf virtue.
We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting, as if there would be so end of them.