Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Voltaire, pen name of Fran├žois-Marie Arouet NULL

French Satirist, Essayist, Dramatist, Philosopher and Historian

"Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game."

"Etymology is a science in which vowels signify nothing at all, and consonants very little."

"England has forty-two religions and only two sauces"

"Each player must accept the cards life deals: but once they are in hand, one must decide alone how to play the cards in order to win the game."

"Even in those cities which seem to enjoy the blessings of peace, and where the arts florish, the inhabitants are devoured by envy, cares and anxieties, which are greater plagues than any expirienced in a town when it is under siege."

"Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives, and few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time."

"Every abuse ought to be reformed, unless the reform is more dangerous than the abuse itself."

"Every sensible man, every honest man, must hold the Christian sect in horror. But what shall we substitute in its place? you say. What? A ferocious animal has sucked the blood of my relatives. I tell you to rid yourselves of this beast, and you ask me what you shall put in its place?"

"Every man is the creature of the age in which he lives; very few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time."

"Everyone likes a good quote - don't forget to share."

"Everyone goes astray, but the least imprudent are they who repent the soonest."

"Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror."

"Everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds."

"Everything's fine today, that is our illusion."

"Exaggeration is the inseparable companion of greatness."

"Everything persecutes me in this world, even things that do not exist."

"Excellently observed, answered Candide; but let us cultivate our garden."

"Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe. It is not enough that a thing be possible for it to be believed."

"For seventeen hundred years the Christian sect has done nothing but harm"

"Formerly there were those who said: You believe things that are incomprehensible, inconsistent, impossible because we have commanded you to believe them; go then and do what is unjust because we command it. Such people show admirable reasoning. Truly, whoever is able to make you absurd is able to make you unjust. If the God-given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God-given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion which have overrun the world."

"Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the soul is."

"Friends should be preferred to kings."

"Froth at the top, dregs at bottom, but the middle excellent."

"Faith consists in believing not what seems true, but what seems false to our understanding... Divine faith... is evidently nothing more than incredulity brought under subjection, for we certainly have no other faculty than the understanding by which we can believe; and the objects of faith are not those of the understanding."

"Fear could never make a virtue."

"Fools admire everything in an author of reputation."

"Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste."

"For can anything be sillier than to insist on carrying a burden one would continually much rather throw to the ground?"

"God created sex. Priests created marriage."

"God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well."

"God has punished the knave, and the devil has drowned the rest."

"God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere."

"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."

"God is always on the side of the big battalions."

"God is always on the side of the heaviest battalions."

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

"Gospel: signifies good news. The good news that the gospel of the Christians came to announce to them is that their God is a God of wrath, that he has predestined the far greater number of them to hell-fire, that their happiness depends on their pious imbecility, their holy credulity, their sacred ravings, on the evil they do to one another through hatred of one another,...and on their antipathy for and persecution of all who do not agree with them or resemble them."

"Governments need to have both shepherds and butchers."

"Hamlet is a course and barbarous play. One might think the work is the product of a drunken savage's imagination."

"Happiness is not the portion of man."

"He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise."

"He is guilty of all the good he does not."

"He looked on everything as imitation. The most original writers, he said, borrowed one from another. Boyardo has imitated Pulci, and Ariofio Boyardo. The instruction we find in books is like fire; we fetch it from our neighbour, kindle it as home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all."

"He showed, in a few words, that it is not sufficient to throw together a few incidents that are to be met with in every romance, and that to dazzle the spectator the thought should be new, without being farfetched; frequently sublime, but always natural; the author should have a thorough knowledge of the human heart and make it speak properly; he should be a complete poet, without showing an affectation of it in any of the characters of his piece; he should be a perfect master of his language, speak it with all its pruity and with the utmost harmony, and yet so as not to make the sense a slave to the rhyme. Whoever, added he, neglects any one of these rules, though he may write two or three tragedies with tolerable success, will never be reckoned in the number of good authors."

"He wanted to know how they prayed to God in El Dorado. We do not pray to him at all, said the reverend sage. We have nothing to ask of him. He has given us all we want, and we give him thanks continually."

"He shines in the second rank, who is eclipsed in the first."

"He was a great patriot, a humanitarian, a loyal friend - provided, of course, that he really is dead."

"He was my equal in beauty, a paragon of grace and charm, sparkling with wit, and burning with love. I adored him to distraction, to the point of idolatry: I loved him as one can never love twice."

"He who dies before many witnesses always does so with courage."

"He who has not the spirit of this age, has all the misery of it."