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La Rochefoucauld

François de La Rochefoucauld, 1613-1680 ,  French writer
La RochefoucauldFrançois VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld, also called Prince de Marcillac, was a French classical author who had been one of the most active rebels of the Fronde (civil wars in France during the minority of Louis XIV) before he became the leading exponent of the maxime, a French literary form of epigram that expresses a harsh or paradoxical truth with brevity.
His remarkable political and military career is overshadowed by his towering stature in French literature. His literary work consists of three parts—his Memoirs, the Maximes, and his letters.

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Quotations

Our virtues are most frequently but vices in disguise.


Old men delight in giving good advice as a consolation for the fact that they can no longer provide bad examples.


Passion often renders the most clever man a fool, and even sometimes renders the most foolish man clever.


Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily.


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


We promise according to our hopes; we fulfill according to our fears.


Those who apply themselves too much to little things often become incapable of great ones.


One is never so happy or so unhappy as one fancies.


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


True love is like the appearance of ghosts: everyone talks about it but few have seen it.


The love of justice is simply in the majority of men the fear of suffering injustice.


Everyone speaks well of his heart; no one dares speak well of his mind.


In the adversity of our best friends we often find something that is not exactly displeasing.


The mind is always the dupe of the heart.


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


The truest way to be deceived is to think oneself more smart than others.


We say little when vanity does not make us speak.


Usually we only praise to be praised.


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


What often prevents us from abandoning ourselves to one vice is that we have several.


The desire to appear clever often prevents one from being so.


Hypocrisy is an homage that vice pays to virtue.


Too great a hurry to be discharged of an obligation is a kind of ingratitude.


It is a great folly to wish to be wise alone.


Nobody deserves to be praised for goodness unless he is strong enough to be bad, for any other goodness is usually merely inertia or lack of will-power.


Some people's faults are becoming to them; others are disgraced by their own good traits.


    Absence extinguishes the minor passions and increases the great ones, as the wind blows out a candle and fans a fire.


    We always like those who admire us; we do not always like those whom we admire.


    Gratitude is the lively expectation of favours yet to come.


    We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those whom we bore.


    In jealousy there is more of self-love than love.


    We confess to little faults only to persuade ourselves we have no great ones.


    We hardly find any persons of good sense save those who agree with us.


    Mediocre minds usually dismiss anything which reaches beyond their own understanding.


    What makes the vanity of others insufferable to us is that it wounds our own.


    Luck must be dealt with like health: enjoy it when it is good, be patient when it is bad.


    Nothing prevents us being natural so much as the desire to appear so.


    We try to make virtues out of the faults we have no wish to correct.


    How can we expect others to keep our secrets if we cannot keep them ourselves?


    It is harder to hide the feelings we have than to feign the ones we do not have.


    The reason that there are so few good conversationalists is that most people are thinking about what they are going to say and not about what the others are saying.


    One must listen if one wishes to be listened to.


    Marriage is the only war in which you sleep with the enemy.


    One kind of flirtation is to boast we never flirt.


    We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves.


    When our vices leave us, we like to imagine it is we who are leaving them.


    There are some who never would have loved if they never had heard it spoken of.


    The sure mark of one born with noble qualities is being born without envy.


    There are some persons who only disgust with their abilities, there are persons who please even with their faults.


    Self-interest makes some people blind, and others sharp-sighted.


    The hell of women is old age.


    One can find women who have never had one love affair, but it is rare indeed to find any who have had only one.










    

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