Francois de La Rochefoucauld Quotes

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

French author & moralist (1613 - 1680)

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To establish ourselves in the world, we have to do all we can to appear established. To succeed in the world, we do everything we can to appear successful.

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Ability wins us the esteem of the true men; luck that of the people.

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There is great ability in knowing how to conveal one's ability.

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Absence cools moderate passions, and inflames violent ones; just as the wind blows out candles, but kindles fires.

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Age is a tyrant, who forbids, at the penalty of life, all the pleasures of youth.

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Avarice is more directly opposed to thrift than generosity is.

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The passions do very often give birth to others of a nature most contrary to their own. Thus avarice sometimes brings forth prodigality, and prodigality avarice; a man

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

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Perfect valour consists in doing without witnesses that which we would be capable of doing before everyone.

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Cunning and treachery are the offspring of incapacity.

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Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy.

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It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.

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Plenty of people wish to become devout, but no one wishes to be humble.

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There is only one sort of love, but there are a thousand copies.

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True love is like ghosts, which everybody talks about and few have seen.

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Sometimes we are less unhappy in being deceived by those we love, than in being undeceived by them.

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There may be good, but there are no pleasant marriages.

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Moderation has been called a virtue to limit the ambition of great men, and to console undistinguished people for their want of fortune and their lack of merit.

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Philosophy triumphs easily over past and future evils; but present evils triumph over it.

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The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea.

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True eloquence consists in saying all that is necessary, and nothing but what is necessary.

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Our virtues are most frequently but vices disguised.

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Preserving health by too severe a rule is a worrisome malady.

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Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?

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Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors.

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There are very few people who are not ashamed of having been in love when they no longer love each other.

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To establish oneself in the world, one has to do all one can to appear established.

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

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Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy those are who already possess it.

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We should manage our fortunes as we do our health - enjoy it when good, be patient when it is bad, and never apply violent remedies except in an extreme necessity.

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We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones.

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It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible.

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

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We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others.

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The height of cleverness is to be able to conceal it.

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A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire.

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When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

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If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.

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Jealousy feeds upon suspicion, and it turns into fury or it ends as soon as we pass from suspicion to certainty.

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Our repentance is not so much regret for the ill we have done as fear of the ill that may happen to us in consequence.

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To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.

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Small minds are much distressed by little things. Great minds see them all but are not upset by them.

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We should often be ashamed of our finest actions if the world understood our motives.

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Few are agreeable in conversation, because each thinks of what he intends to say than of what others are saying, and listens no more when he himself has a chance to speak.

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We rarely think people have good sense unless they agree with us.

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The reason why so few people are agreeable in conversation is that each is thinking more about what he intends to say than about what others are saying, and we never listen when we are eager to speak.

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The pleasure of love is in loving.

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The glory of great men should always be measured by the means they have used to acquire it.

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When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

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To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.

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Hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue.

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The sort of liveliness which increases with age is not far distant from madness.

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There are very few women in society whose virtue outlasts their beauty.

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The man whom no one pleases is much more unhappy than the man who pleases no one.

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The most dangerous folly of old people who were once attractive is to forget that they are not so any longer.

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Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors.

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Quarrels would not last long if the fault were only on one side.

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Confidence contributes more to conversation than wit.

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The mind cannot long act the role of the heart.

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Nothing is less sincere than our mode of asking and giving advice. He who asks seems to have a deference for the opinion of his friend, while he only aims to get approval of his own and make his friend responsible for his action. And he who gives advice repays the confidence supposed to be placed in him by a seemingly disinterested zeal, while he seldom means anything by his advice but his own interest or reputation.

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We often do good in order that we may do evil with impunity.

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Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.

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The truest mark of being born with great qualities, is being born without envy.

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No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.

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He who lives without folly is not so wise as he imagines.

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What seems to be generosity is often no more than disguised ambition, which overlooks a small interest in order to secure a great one.

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

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In jealousy there is more of self-love, than of love to another.

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Minds of moderate caliber ordinarily condemn everything which is beyond their range.

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Not all those who know their minds know their hearts as well.

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We would frequently be ashamed of our good deeds if people saw all of the motives that produced them.

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We think very few people sensible, except those who are of our opinion.

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When we are unable to find tranquillity within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

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Few things are impracticable in themselves; and it is for want of application, rather than of means, that men fail to succeed.

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Philosophy triumphs easily over past evils and future evils; but present evils triumph over it.

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Pride does not wish to owe and vanity does not wish to pay.

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To be deceived by our enemies or betrayed by our friends in insupportable; yet by ourselves we are often content to be so treated.

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The confidence which we have in ourselves gives birth to much of that which we have in others.

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The defects of the understanding, like those of the face, grow worse as we grow old.

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Vanity makes us do more things against inclination than reason.

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