Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

French Satirist, Essayist, Dramatist, Philosopher and Historian

"A fool is a person who guesses and gets it wrong, a clever man is one who guesses, regardless of time period, and gets it right"

"A fondness for roving, for making a name for themselves in their own country, and for boasting of what they had seen in their travels, was so strong in our two wanderers, that they resolved to be no longer happy; and demanded permission of the king to leave the country."

"A good imitation is the most perfect originality."

"A great many laws in a country, like many physicians, is a sign of malady."

"A good cook is a certain slow poisoner, if you are not temperate"

"A lady of honor may be raped once, but it strengthens her virtue."

"A great writer possesses, so to speak, an individual and unchangeable style, which does not permit him easily to preserve the anonymous."

"A man loved by a beautiful woman will always get out of trouble"

"A minister of state is excusable for the harm he does when the helm of government has forced his hand in a storm; but in the calm he is guilty of all the good he does not do."

"A people that sells its own children is more condemnable than the buyer; this commerce demonstrates our superiority; he who gives himself a master was born to have one."

"A single part of physics occupies the lives of many men, and often leaves them dying in uncertainty."

"A woman can keep one secret - the secret of her age."

"After all, it is no more surprising to me to be born twice than it is to be born once."

"A witty saying proves nothing."

"Alas! My dear... unless you have been raped by two Bulgarians, stabbed twice in the belly, have had two castles destroyed, two fathers and mothers murdered before your eyes, and have seen two of your lovers flogged in an auto-da-fe, I do not see how you can surpass me; moreover, I was born a Baroness with seventy-two quarterings and I have been a kitchen wench."

"All I presume is that there are millions of men on earth a hundred times more to be pitied than King Charles Edward, the Emperor Ivan, and the Sultan Achmet."

"All comes out even at the end of the day, and all comes out still more even when all the days are over."

"Alas...I too have known love, that ruler of hearts, that soul of our soul: it's never brought me anything except one kiss and twenty kicks in the rump. How could such a beautiful cause produce such an abominable effect on you?"

"All history is little else than a long succession of useless cruelties."

"All events are linked together in the best of possible worlds; after all, if you had not been driven from a fine castle by being kicked in the backside for love of Miss Cunegonde, if you hadn't been sent before the Inquisition, if you hadn't traveled across America on foot, if you hadn't given a good sword thrust to the baron, if you hadn't lost all your sheep from the good land of Eldorado, you wouldn't be sitting here eating candied citron and pistachios. - That is very well put, said Candide, but we must cultivate our garden."

"All is but illusion and disaster."

"All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds."

"All men are born with a nose and ten fingers, but no one was born with a knowledge of God."

"All is miracle. The stupendous order of nature, the revolution of a hundred millions of worlds around a million of suns, the activity of light, the life of animals, all are grand and perpetual miracles."

"All kinds are good except the kind that bores you."

"All men are by nature free; you have therefore an undoubted liberty to depart whenever you please, but will have many and great difficulties to encounter in passing the frontiers."

"All men have equal rights to liberty, to their property, and to the protection of the laws."

"All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."

"All people are equal, it is not birth, it is virtue alone that makes the difference."

"All men would then be necessarily equal, if they were without needs. It is the poverty connected with our species which subordinates one man to another. It is not inequality which is the real misfortune, it is dependence."

"All of the other people have committed crimes, the Jews are the only ones who have boasted about committing them. They are, all of them, born with raging fanaticism in their hearts, just as the Bretons and the Germans are born with blond hair. I would not be in the least bit surprised if these people would not someday become deadly to the human race."

"All styles are good except the tiresome kind."

"All philosophical sects have run aground on the reef of moral and physical ill. It only remains for us to confess that God, having acted for the best, had not been able to do better."

"All succeeds with people who are of cheerful disposition"

"All the citizens of a state cannot be equally powerful, but they may be equally free"

"All the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books."

"All the makers of dictionaries, and all compilers who do nothing else than repeat backwards and forwards the opinions, the errors, the impostures, and the truths already printed, we may term plagiarists; but they are honest plagiarists, who do not arrogate the merit of invention. - Call them, if you please, book-makers, not authors; rather second­hand dealers than plagiarists."

"An ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination."

"All the reasonings of men are not worth one sentiment of women."

"An infallible method of making fanatics is to persuade before you instruct."

"And ask each passenger to tell his story, and if there is one of them all who has not cursed his existence many times, and said to himself over and over again that he was the most miserable of men, I give you permission to throw me head-first into the sea."

"And private misfortunes make the public good, so that the more private misfortunes there are, the more everything is well."

"Answer me, you who believe that animals are only machines. Has nature arranged for this animal to have all the machinery of feelings only in order for it not to have any at all?"

"Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills."

"Anyone who seeks to destroy the passions instead of controlling them is trying to play the angel."

"Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung."

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well"

"As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities."

"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices."

"Ask a toad what is beauty? ... a female with two great round eyes coming out of her little head, a large flat mouth, a yellow belly and a brown back."