Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Petrarch, anglicized from Italian name Francesco Petrarca NULL

Italian Scholar, Poet and one of the earliest Renaissance Humanists

"Five great enemies of peace inhabit with us - avarice, ambition, envy, anger and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace."

"Great errors seldom originate but with men of great minds."

"Love is the crowning grace of humanity, the holiest right of the soul, the golden link which binds us to duty and truth, the redeeming principle that chiefly reconciles the heart to life, and is prophetic of eternal good."

"Love is the crowning grace of humanity, the holiest right of the soul, the golden link which binds us to duty and truth, the redeeming principle that chiefly reconciles the heart of life, and is prophetic of eternal good."

"Sameness is the mother of disgust, variety the cure."

"To be able to say how much you love is to love but little."

"Virtue is health, vice is sickness."

"Where you are is of no moment, but only what you are doing there. It is not the placed that ennobles you, but you the place; and this only by doing that which is great an noble."

"A good death does honor to a whole life."

"A short cut to riches is to subtract from our desires."

"Believe me, many things are attributed to gravity and wisdom which are really due to incapacity and sloth. Men often despise what they despair of obtaining. It is in the very nature of ignorance to scorn what it cannot understand, and to desire to keep others from attaining what it cannot reach. Hence the false judgments upon matters of which we know nothing, by which we evince our envy quite as clearly as our stupidity."

"Books have led some to learning and others to madness, when they swallow more than they can digest."

"Books never pall me. They discourse with us, they take counsel with us, and are united to us by a certain living chatty familiarity. And not only does each book inspire the sense that it belongs to its readers, but it also suggests the name of others, and one begets the desire of the other."

"Continued work and application form my soul's nourishment. So soon as I commenced to rest and relax I should cease to live. I know my own powers. I am not fitted for other kinds of work, but my reading and writing, which you would have me discontinue, are easy tasks, nay, they are a delightful rest, and relieve the burden of heavier anxieties. There is no lighter burden, nor more agreeable, than a pen. Other pleasures fail us or wound us while they charm, but the pen we take up rejoicing and lay down with satisfaction, for it has the power to advantage not only its lord and master, but many others as well, even though they be far away — sometimes, indeed, though they be not born for thousands of years to come. I believe I speak but the strict truth when I claim that as there is none among earthly delights more noble than literature, so there is none so lasting, none gentler, or more faithful; there is none which accompanies its possessor through the vicissitudes of life at so small a cost of effort or anxiety."

"Death is a sleep that ends our dreaming. Oh, that we may be allowed to wake before death wakes us. "

"Do you suppose there is any living man so unreasonable that if he found himself stricken with a dangerous ailment he would not anxiously desire to regain the blessing of health?"

"Each famous author of antiquity whom I recover places a new offence and another cause of dishonor to the charge of earlier generations, who, not satisfied with their own disgraceful barrenness, permitted the fruit of other minds, and the writings that their ancestors had produced by toil and application, to perish through insufferable neglect. Although they had nothing of their own to hand down to those who were to come after, they robbed posterity of its ancestral heritage."

"Hitherto your eyes have been darkened and you have looked too much, yes, far too much, upon the things of earth. If these so much delight you what shall be your rapture when your life your gaze to things eternal! "

"How fortune brings to earth the oversure!"

"I ate in the morning what I would digest in the evening; I swallowed as a boy what I would ruminate upon as an older man. I have thoroughly absorbed these writings, implanting them not only in my memory but in my marrow."

"I freeze and burn, love is bitter and sweet, my sighs are tempests and my tears are floods, I am in ecstasy and agony, I am possessed by memories of her and I am in exile from myself. "

"I rejoiced in my progress, mourned my weaknesses, and commiserated the universal instability of human conduct."

"It is better to will the good than to know the truth."

"It is more honorable to be raised to a throne than to be born to one. Fortune bestows the one, merit obtains the other."

"Man has no greater enemy than himself. I have acted contrary to my sentiments and inclination; throughout our whole lives we do what we never intended, and what we proposed to do, we leave undone."

"Rarely do great beauty and great virtue dwell together."

"Suspicion is the cancer of friendship."

"The end of doubt is the beginning of repose."

"To begin with myself, then, the utterances of men concerning me will differ widely, since in passing judgment almost everyone is influenced not so much by truth as by preference, and good and evil report alike know no bounds."

"True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness."

"Was happier far than others in their smiles."

"Who naught suspects is easily deceived."

"Who over-refines his argument brings himself to grief."

"A lot of books is a laborious burden and a distraction for the soul. At the same time attorney abundance of work and lack of rest. Intelligence turns here and there: the memory is burdened with one thing and another ... Believe me, this does not mean nourish your spirit with the writings, but suffocate under the weight of things, and bury him: or perhaps torture the soul giddy from too much like Tantalus in the midst of the waves, which cannot taste anything and craves more."

"An equal doom clipp'd Time's blest wings of peace."

"And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not."

"And tears are heard within the harp I touch."

"And who can rightly die needs no delay."

"Behold who ever wept, and in his tears was happier far than others in their smiles."

"For death betimes is comfort, not dismay, and who can rightly die needs no delay."

"All pleasure in the world is a passing dream."

"For style beyond the genius never dares."

"For virtue only finds eternal fame."

"Gold, silver, jewels, purple garments, houses built of marble, groomed estates, pious paintings, caparisoned steeds, and other things of this kind offer a mutable and superficial pleasure; books give delight to the very marrow of one's bones. They speak to us, consult with us, and join with us in a living and intense intimacy."

"Gold, silver, precious stones, in a purple garment, the marbles of the house, the worship of the field, Pieter table, an ornamental trappings, steed, and others of that kind of pleasure and superficially have they, to your silent: the books I penetrated with, delight me, are talking together, they seek knowledge and living are joined by a certain familiarity to us and shrill. Golds, silver, jewels, purple gown, houses built of marble, groomed estates, Pious paintings, caparisoned steeds, and other things of this offer a mutable and superficial pleasure; very marrow of one's bones books give delight to. They Speak to us, consult with us, and to join with us in the Living and the intense intimacy."

"He loves but lightly who his love can tell."

"Her walk was like no mortal thing, but shaped after an angel's."

"How difficult it is to save the bark of reputation from the rocks of ignorance."

"How do you know, poor fool? Perhaps out there, somewhere, someone is sighing for your absence'; and with this thought, my soul begins to breathe."

"Books come at my call and return when I desire them; they are never out of humor and they answer all my questions with readiness. Some present in review before me the events of past ages; others reveal to me the secrets of Nature. These teach me how to live, and those how to die; these dispel my melancholy by their mirth, and amuse me by their sallies of wit. Some there are who prepare my soul to suffer everything, to desire nothing, and to become thoroughly acquainted with itself. In a word, they open the door to all the arts and sciences."