Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

Roman Emperor, known for Stoic tome Meditations

"‘Tis precept and principle, not an estate, that makes a man good for something."

"A great estate is a great disadvantage to those who do not know hot to use it, for nothing is more common than to see wealthy persons live scandalously and miserably; riches do them no service in order to virtue and happiness; it is precept and principle, not an estate, that makes a man good for something."

"A man does not sin by commission only, but often by omission."

"A man's life is what his thoughts make of it."

"A man's true greatness lies in the consciousness of an honest purpose in life, founded on a just estimate of himself and everything else, on frequent self-examinations, and a steady obedience to the rule which he knows to be right, without troubling himself about what others may think or say, or whether they do or do not that which he thinks and says and does."

"A rational nature admits of nothing but what is serviceable to the rest of mankind."

"Be not dilatory in doing, nor confused in conversation, nor vague in thought; leave thyself leisure in thy life."

"Be simple and modest in your deportment, and treat with indifference whatever lies between virtue and vice."

"Do every act of your life as if it were your last."

"Do not consider anything for your interest which makes you break your word, quit your modesty, or inclines you to any practice which will not bear the light, or look the world in the face."

"Embellish the soul with simplicity, with prudence, and everything which is neither virtuous nor vicious. Love all men. Walk according to God; for, as a poet hath said, his laws govern all."

"Everything is mere opinion."

"Happiness is no other than soundness and perfection of mind."

"I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others."

"If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now."

"In the same degree in which a man’s mind is nearer to freedom from all passion, in the same degree also is it nearer to strength."

"Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig."

"Never esteem anything as of advantage to thee that shall make thee break thy word or lose thy self-respect."

"Nothing is evil which is according to nature."

"Of human life the time is a point, and the substance is in a flux, and the perception dull, and the composition of the whole body subject to putrefaction, and the soul a whirl, and fortune hard to divine, and fame a thing devoid of judgment. And, to say all in a word, everything which belongs to the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is a dream and a vapor, and life is a warfare and a stranger’s sojourn, and after-fame is oblivion."

"Once thing here is worth a great deal, to pass thy life in truth and justice, with a benevolent disposition even to liars and unjust men."

"Our dispositions will be suitable to that which we most frequently think on; for the soul is, as it were, tinged with the colour and complexion of its own thoughts."

"Our understanding are always liable to error. Nature and certainty is very hard to come at; and infallibility is mere vanity and pretense."

"Receive wealth or prosperity without arrogance; and be ready to let it go."

"Remember this, that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed I the performance of every act of life."

"Such as are thy habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of thy mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts. Dye it then with a continuous series of such thoughts as these: that where a man can live, there he can also live well."

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly; and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature."

"The most complete revenge is not to imitate the aggressor."

"The one thing worth living for is to keep one's soul pure."

"The perfection of moral character consists in this, in passing every day as the last, and in being neither violently excited nor torpid nor playing the hypocrite."

"There is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life."

"To have contemplated human life for forty years is the same as to have contemplated it for ten thousand years. For what more wilt thou see?"

"To live each day as though one's last, never flustered, never apathetic, never attitudinizing - here is the perfection of character."

"To live happily is an inward power of the soul."

"What a great deal of ease that man gains who lets his neighbor's behavior alone and takes care that his own actions are honest."

"Your disposition will be suitable to that which you most frequently think on; for the soul is, as it were, tinged with the color and complexion of its own thoughts."

"Adapt yourself to the things among which your lot has been cast and love sincerely the fellow creatures with whom destiny has ordained that you shall live."

"Always observe how ephemeral and worthless human things are... Pass them through this little space of time comformably to nature, and end thy journey in content."

"Everything is but what think it."

"Every man's life lies within the present; for the past is spent and one with, and the future is uncertain."

"Execute every act of thy life as though it were thy last."

"How much time he saves who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks."

"I often marvel how it is that though each man loves himself beyond all else, he should yet value his own opinion of himself less than that of others."

"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment."

"Is any man afraid of change? Why what can take place without change? What then is more pleasing or more suitable to the universal nature? And canst thou take a bath unless the wood undergoes a change? And canst thou be nourished, unless the food undergoes a change? And can anything else that is useful be accomplished without change? Dost thou not see then that for thyself also to change is just the same, and equally necessary for the universal nature?"

"It is not the weight of the future or the past that is pressing upon you, but ever that of the present alone. Even this burden, too, can be lessened if you confine it strictly to its own limits."

"Let not your mind run on what you lack as much as on what you have already."

"Life is thought."

"Live not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow, make yourself good while life and power are still yours."

"Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight."