The most civilized people are as near to barbarism as the most polished steel is to rust. Nations, like metals, have only a superficial brilliancy.
Man spends his life in reasoning on the past, in complaining of the present, in fearing future.
It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit.
The absolute ruler may be a Nero, but he is sometimes a Titus or Marc Aurelius; the people is often Nero, but never Marc Aurelius.
Of every ten persons who talk about you, nine will say something bad, and the tenth will say something good in a bad way.
Brave men do not boast nor bluster. Deeds, not words, speak for such.
To lose one's self in reverie, one must be either very happy, or very unhappy. Reverie is the child of extremes.
The only thing wealth does for some people is to make them worry about losing it.
Generally speaking, there is more wit than talent in the world. Society swarms with witty people who lack talent.
Opinions, theories, and systems pass by turns over the grindstone of time, which at first gives them brilliancy and sharpness, but finally wears them out.
It is easy for men to write and talk like philosophers, but to act with wisdom, there is the rub!
Ideas are a capital that bears interest only in the hands of talent.
The modest man has everything to gain, and the arrogant man everything to lose; for modesty has always to deal with generosity, and arrogance with envy.
That which happens to the soil when it ceases to be cultivated by the social man happens to man himself when he foolishly forsakes society for solitude; the brambles grow up in his desert heart.
Speech is external thought, and thought internal speech.
Gold like the sun, which melts wax, but hardens clay, expands great souls.
Memory always obeys the commands of the heart.
Youth is not the era of wisdom; let us therefore have due consideration.
Vices are often habits rather than passions.
The methods that help a man acquire a fortune are the very ones that keep him from enjoying it.
What isn’t clear, isn’t French.
If poverty makes man groan, he yawns in opulence. When fortune exempts us from labor, nature overwhelms us with time.
The subtle sauce of malice is often indulged in by maidens of uncertain age, over their tea.
The despotism of will in ideas is styled plan, project, character, obstinacy; its despotism in desires is called passion.
There is nothing so unready as readiness of wit.
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