Jean de La Bruyère

Jean de La

French Writer, Moralist, "The Theophrastus of France"

Author Quotes

The first thing men do when they have renounced pleasure, through decency, lassitude, or for the sake of health, is to condemn it in others. Such conduct denotes a kind of latent affection for the very things they left off; they would like no one to enjoy a pleasure they can no longer indulge in; and thus they show their feelings of jealousy.

Man has but three events in his life: to be born, to live, and to die. He is not conscious of his birth, he suffers at his death and he forgets to live.

Everything has been said, and we are more than seven thousand years of human thought too late.

Two persons cannot long be friends if they cannot forgive each other's little failings.

This great misfortune - to be incapable of solitude.

There is no road too long to the man who advances deliberately and without undue haste; there are no honors too distant to the man who prepares himself for them with patience.

The pleasure we feel in criticizing robs us from being moved by very beautiful things.

The giving is the hardest part; what does it cost to add a smile?

The first day one is a guest, the second a burden, and the third a pest.

Love and friendship exclude each other.

It is a sad thing when men have neither the wit to speak well nor the judgment to hold their tongues.

Grief at the absence of a loved one is happiness compared to life with a person one hates.

All of our unhappiness comes from our inability to be alone.

All men's misfortunes spring from their hatred of being alone.

A vain man finds it wise to speak good or ill of himself; a modest man does not talk of himself.

A position of eminence makes a great person greater and a small person less.

A man can keep another's secret better than his own. A woman her own better than others.

The same vices that are gross and insupportable in others we do not notice in ourselves.

Profound ignorance makes a man dogmatic. The man who knows nothing thinks he is teaching others what he has just learned himself; the man who knows a great deal cannot imagine that what he is saying is not common knowledge, and speaks more indifferently.

A man unattached and without wife, if he have any genius at all, may raise himself above his original position, may mingle with the world of fashion, and hold himself on a level with the highest; this is less easy for him who is engaged; it seems as if marriage put the whole world in their proper rank.

If poverty is the mother of crimes, want of sense is the father of them.

There are but three events which concern men: birth, life and death. They are unconscious of their birth, they suffer when they die, and they neglect to live.

A slave has but one master; an ambitious man has as many masters as there are people who may be useful in bettering the position.

If this life is unhappy, it is a burden to us, which it is difficult to bear; if it is in every respect happy, it is dreadful to be deprived of it; so that in either case the result is the same, for we must exist in anxiety and apprehension.

There are but two ways of rising in the world: either by one’s own industry or profiting by the foolishness of others.

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Jean de La
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French Writer, Moralist, "The Theophrastus of France"