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We always like those who admire us ; we do not always like those whom we admire.
Maxim 294. The gratitude of most men is but a secret desire of receiving greater benefits.1
Maxim 298. Lovers are never tired of each other, though they always speak of themselves.
Maxim 312. We pardon in the degree that we love.
We hardly find any persons of good sense save those who agree with us.?
Maxim 347. The greatest fault of a penetrating wit is to go beyond the mark.
We may give advice, but we cannot inspire the conduct.
Maxim 378. The veracity which increases with old age is not far from folly.
Maxim 416. In their first passion women love their lovers, in all the others they love love.
Quarrels would not last long if the fault was only on one side.
In the adversity of our best friends we often find something that is not exactly displeasing
1 See Walpole, page 304.
2 “ That was excellently observed," say I when I read a passage in another where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, then I pronounce him to be mistaken. -Swift : Thoughts on Various Subjects.
3 See Byron, page 557.
4 This reflection, No. 99 in the edition of 1665, the author suppressed in the third edition.
In all distresses of our friends
DEAN Swift: A Paraphrase of Rochefoucauld's
J. DE LA FONTAINE 1621-1695.
The opinion of the strongest is always the best.
The Wolf and the Lamb. Buok i. Fable 10. By the work one knows the workman.
The Hornets and the Bees. Favle 21. It is a double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.
The Cock and the Fox. Book ii. Fable 15. It is impossible to please all the world and one's father.
Book iii. Fable 1. In everything one must consider the end.
The Fox and the Gnat. Fable 5. “They are too green," he said, “and only good for fools.”
The Fox and the Grapes. Fable 11. Help thyself, and God will help thee.
Book vi. Fable 18. The fly of the coach.
Book vii. Fable 9. The sign brings customers. The Fortune-Tellers. Fable 15. Let ignorance talk as it will, learning has its value.
The Use of Knowledge. Book viii. Fable 19. No path of flowers leads to glory. Book , Fable 14.
JEAN BAPTISTE MOLIÈRE. 1622-1673.
The world, dear Agnes, is a strange affair.
L'École des Femmes. Act ii. Sc. 6. There are fagots and fagots.
Le Médecin malgré lui. Act i. Sc. 6. We have changed all that.
Act ii. Sc. 6. Although I am a pious man, I am not the less a man.
Le Tartuffe. Act iii. Sc. 3. 1 Remember the end, and thou shalt never do amiss. — Ecclesiasticus ii. 36.
2 Sour grapes.
The real Amphitryon is the Amphitryon who gives dinners."
Amphitryo. Act iii. Sc. 5. Ah that I – You would have it so, you would have it so; George Dandin, you would have it so! This suits you very nicely, and you are served right; you have precisely what you deserve.
George Dandin. Act i. Sc. 19. Tell me to whom you are addressing yourself when you say that.
I am addressing myself -- I am addressing myself to my cap.
L'Avare. Act i. Sc. 3. The beautiful eyes
Act v. Sc. 3. You are speaking before a man to whom all Naples is known.
Sc. 5. My fair one, let us swear an eternal friendship.?
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. Act iv. Sc. 1. I will maintain it before the whole world.
Sc, 5. What the devil did he want in that galley ? 3
Les Fourberies de Scapin. Act ii. Sc, 11. Grammar, which knows how to control even kings.
Les Femmes savantes. Act ii. Sc. 6. Ah, there are no longer any children !
Le Malade Imaginaire. Act ii. Sc. 11.
BLAISE PASCAL. 1623-1662.
(Translated by O. W. Wight.) Man is but a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed.
Thoughts. Chap. ii. 10. It is not permitted to the most equitable of men to be a judge in his own cause.
Chap. iv. 1.
1 See Dryden, page 277.
2 See Frere, page 462. 8 Borrowed from Cyrano de Bergerac's • Pédant joué," act ii. sc. 4.
4 Sigismund I. at the Council of Constance, 1414, said to a prelate who had objected to his Majesty's grammar, “ Ego sum rex Romanus, et supra grammaticam” (I am the Roman emperor, and am above grammar).
Montaigne 1 is wrong in declaring that custom ought to be followed simply because it is custom, and not because it is reasonable or just.
Thoughts. Chap. iv. 6. Thus we never live, but we hope to live; and always disposing ourselves to be happy, it is inevitable that we never become so.
Chap. v. 2. If the nose of Cleopatra had been shorter, the whole face of the earth would have been changed. Chap. viii. 29.
The last thing that we find in making a book is to know what we must put first.
Chap. ix. 30. Rivers are highways that move on, and bear us whither we wish to go.
What a chimera, then, is man! what a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! A judge of all things, feeble worm of the earth, depositary of the truth, cloaca of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe ! 3
Chrp. x. 1. We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.
Ibid. For as old age is that period of life most remote from infancy, who does not see that old age in this universal man ought not to be sought in the times nearest his birth, but in those most remote from it ? 4
Preface to the Treatise on Vacuum.
NICHOLAS BOILEAU-DESPREAUX. 1636–1711.
Happy who in his verse can gently steer
The Art of Poetry. Canto i. Line 75.
1 Book i. chap. xxii.
2 See Pope, page 315. 3 See Pope, page 317.
4 See Bacon, page 169. 5 See Dryden, page 273.
Every age has its pleasures, its style of wit, and its own ways.
The Art of Poetry. Canto iii. Line 374. He (Molière] pleases all the world, but cannot please himself.
Satire 2. “There, take,” says Justice, “take ye each a shell; We thrive at Westminster on fools like you. ’T was a fat oyster! live in peace, — adieu.” 1
ALAIN RENÉ LE SAGE. 1668–1747.
It may be said that his wit shines at the expense of his memory.”
Gil Blas. Book iü. Chap. zi. I wish you all sorts of prosperity with a little more taste.
Book vii. Chap. iv. Isocrates was in the right to insinuate, in his elegant Greek expression, that what is got over the Devil's back is spent under his belly.8
Book viii, Chap. ix. Facts are stubborn things.
Book x. Chap. i. Plain as a pike-staff."
Book zii. Chap. viii.
FRANCIS M. VOLTAIRE. 1694-1778.
If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him.
Epitre à l'Auteur du Livre des Trois Imposteurs. cxi. The king [Frederic] has sent me some of his dirty linen to wash; I will wash yours another time.?
Reply to General Manstein. Men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts.
Dialogue xiv. Le Chapon et la Poularde (1763), i See Pope, page 334.
2 See Sheridan, page 443. 3 See Rabelais, page 773.
4 See Smollett, page 392. 5 See Middleton, page 172.
6 See Tillotson, page 266. 7 Voltaire writes to his niece Dennis, July 24, 1752, “Voilà le roi qui m'envoie son linge à blanchir."
8 See Young, page 310.