French Writer, Moralist, "The Theophrastus of France"
"Discourtesy does not spring merely from one bad quality, but from several - from foolish vanity, from ignorance of what is due to others, from indolence, from stupidity, from the distraction of thought, from contempt of others, from jealousy."
"Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life; cunning is a kind of instinct, that only looks after our immediate interests and welfare. Discretion is only found in men of strong sense and good understanding; cunning is often to be met with in brutes themselves, and in persons who are but the fewest removes from them."
"False modesty is the masterpiece of vanity: showing the vain man in such an illusory light that he appears in the reputation of the virtue quite opposite to the vice which constitutes his real character; it is a deceit."
"He who can wait for what he desires takes the course not to be exceedingly grieved if he fails of it; he, on the contrary, who labors after a thing too impatiently thinks the success when it comes is not a recompense equal to all the pains he has been at about it."
"It is a very rare thing to find ground which produces nothing. If it is not covered with flowers, fruit trees, and grains, it produces briars and pines. It is the same with man; if he is not virtuous, he becomes vicious."
"It is boorish to give with a bad grace. If the act of giving entails an effort, what matters the additional cost of a smile?"
"It is easier to enrich ourselves with a thousand virtues than to correct ourselves of a single fault."
"It is motive alone that gives real value to the actions of men, and disinterestedness puts the cap to it."
"It is very rare to find ground which produces nothing; if it is not covered with flowers, with fruit trees and grains, it produces briers and pines. It is the same with man; if he is not virtuous, he becomes vicious."
"Laziness begat wearisomeness, and this put men in quest of diversions, play and company, on which however it is a constant attendant; he who works hard, has enough to do with himself otherwise."
"Politeness does not always evince goodness, equity, complaisance, or gratitude, but it gives at least the appearance of these qualities, and makes man appear outwardly as he should be within."
"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 can't imagine that what he is saying is not common knowledge, and speaks indifferently."
"The beginning and the end of love are both marked by embarrassment when the two find themselves alone."
"The most delicate, the most sensible of all pleasures, consists in promoting the pleasure of others."
"The slave has but one master; the ambitious man has as many as there are people useful to his fortune."
"There is a false modesty, which is vanity; a false glory which is levity; a false grandeur, which is meanness; a false virtue, which is hypocrisy, and a false wisdom, which is prudery."
"We hope to grow old, and yet we fear old age; that is, we are willing to live, and afraid to die."
"We meet with few utterly dull and stupid souls: the sublime and transcendent are still fewer; the generality of mankind stand between these two extremes: the interval is filled with multitudes of ordinary geniuses, but all very useful, and the ornaments and supports of the commonwealth."
"We seldom repent of speaking little, very often of speaking too much; a vulgar and trite maxim, which all the world knows, but which all the world does not practice."
"When a book raises your spirit, and inspires you with noble and courageous feelings, seek for no other fuel to judge thy work by; it is good, and made by a good worksman."
"When it is our duty to do an act of justice it should be done promptly. To delay is injustice."
"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."