Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet

Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet
1694
1778

French Satirist, Essayist, Dramatist, Philosopher and Historian

Author Quotes

Verses which do not teach men new and moving truths do not deserve to be read.

What a pessimist you are! exclaimed Candide. That is because I know what life is, said Martin.

When a man is in love, jealous, and has been flogged by the Inquisition, he is beside himself.

Who knows more, more is silent

Your destiny is that of a man, and your vows those of a god.

Very learned women are to be found, in the same manner as female warriors; but they are seldom or ever inventors.

What can be feared when one is doing one's duty? I know the rage of my enemies. I know all their slanders; but when one only tries to do good to men and when one does not offend heaven, one can fear nothing, neither during life nor after death.

When he who hears does not know what he who speaks means, and when he who speaks does not know what he himself means, that is philosophy.

Whoever serves his country well has no need of ancestors.

Your Majesty may think me an impatient sick man, and that the Turks are even sicker.

Very often, say what you will, a knave is only a fool.

What can be more absurd than choosing to carry a burden that one really wants to throw to the ground? To detest, and yet to strive to preserve our existence? To caress the serpent that devours us and hug him close to our bosoms till he has gnawed into our hearts?

When his highness sends a ship to Egypt, does he trouble his head whether the mice on board are at their ease or not?

Why should you think it so strange that in some countries there are monkeys which insinuates themselves into the good graces of the ladies; they are a fourth part human, as I am a fourth part Spaniard.

Virtue supposes liberty, as the carrying of a burden supposes active force. Under coercion there is no virtue, and without virtue there is no religion. Make a slave of me, and I shall be no better for it. Even the sovereign has no right to use coercion to lead men to religion, which by its nature supposes choice and liberty. My thought is no more subject to authority than is sickness or health.

What can we say to a man who tells you that he would rather obey God than men, and that therefore he is sure to go to heaven for butchering you? Even the law is impotent against these attacks of rage; it is like reading a court decree to a raving maniac. These fellows are certain that the holy spirit with which they are filled is above the law, that their enthusiasm is the only law that they must obey.

When it comes to money, we are all one religion!

Wisdom must yield to superstition's rules,

What is called happiness is an abstract idea, composed of various ideas of pleasure; for he who has but a moment of pleasure is not a happy man, in like manner that a moment of grief constitutes not a miserable one.

When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.

Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.

We all look for happiness, but without knowing where to find it: like drunkards who look for their house, knowing dimly that they have one

What is history? The lie that everyone agrees on...

When one man speaks to another man who doesn't understand him, and when the man who's speaking no longer understands, it's metaphysics.

Author Picture
First Name
Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet
Birth Date
1694
Death Date
1778
Bio

French Satirist, Essayist, Dramatist, Philosopher and Historian