Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Wise

"God, who is liberal in all his other gifts, shows us, by the wise economy of his providence, how circumspect we ought to be in the management of our time, for he never gives us two moments together." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"The wisdom of a foole is in his tongue, & the tongue of the wise man is hydden in his hart." - John Florio

"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives, the cumulative experience of many masters of craftsmanship. Quality also marks the search for an ideal after necessity has been satisfied and mere usefulness achieved." -

"It is part of human nature to think wise things and do ridiculous ones." - Anatole France, pen name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault

"That man is wise who neither hopes nor fears anything from the uncertain events of the future." - Anatole France, pen name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault

"A wise Man will desire no more than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly." - Benjamin Franklin

"Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." - Benjamin Franklin

"Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late." - Benjamin Franklin

"Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of its filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and trebles that want another way. That was a true proverb of the wise man, rely upon it; "Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure, and trouble therewith."" - Benjamin Franklin

"The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of wise man is in his heart." - Benjamin Franklin

"It is too often seen, that the wiser men about the things of this world, the less wise they are about the things of the next." - Cardinal James Gibbons

"Incessant change, everlasting innovation, seem to be dictated by the true interests of mankind. But government is the perpetual enemy of change... The wise man is satisfied with nothing." - William Godwin

"All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Fools and wise men are equally harmless. It is the half-fools and the half-wise that are dangerous." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Happy the man who early learns the wise chasm that lies between his wishes and his powers." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"It is delightful to transport one’s self into the spirit of the past, to see how a wise man has thought before us, and to what a glorious height we have at last reached." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"People always fancy that we must become old to become wise; but, in truth, as years advance, it is hard to keep ourselves as wise as we were." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"A wise traveler never despises his own country." - Carlo Goldoni

"Nothing would contribute more to make a man wise than to have always an enemy in his view." - Charles Montagu Halifax, 1st Earl of Halifax, Lord Halifax

"Among the many advantages of experience, one of the most valuable is that we come to know the range of our own powers, and if we are wise we keep contentedly within them." - Philip G. Hamerton, fully Philip Gilbert Hamerton

"The wise man's tongue is ever in his heart; the fool's heart's in his tongue." - Patrick Hannay

"The intellect of the wise is like glass. It admits the light of heaven and reflects it." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"Who would succeed in the world should be wise in the use of his pronouns. Utter the You twenty times, where you utter the I." -

"Wise men think out their thoughts; fools proclaim them." - Heinrich Heine

"Democracy is predicated not on faith in man but on the conviction... that no man is good enough or wise enough to be entrusted with irresponsible power over his fellow-men." - Will Herberg

"Such is the nature of men that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned, yet they will hardly believe they may be many so wise as themselves." - Thomas Hobbes

"Words are wise men's counters, they do but reckon by them; but they are the money of fools." - Thomas Hobbes

"It is harder to avoid censure than to gain applause; for this may be done by one great or wise action in an age. But to escape censure a man must pass his whole life without saying or doing one ill or foolish thing." - David Hume

"Never speak by superlatives; for in so doing you will be likely to wound either truth or prudence. Exaggeration is neither thoughtful, wise, nor safe. It is a proof of the weakness of the understanding, or the want of discernment of him that utters it, so that even when he speaks the truth, he soon finds it is received with partial, or even utter disbelief." - David Hume

"It takes a clever man to turn cynic and a wise man clever enough not to." - Fannie Hurst

"The wisdom of the wise is an uncommon degree of common sense." - William Ralph Inge

"The wise man is he who knows the relative value of things." - William Ralph Inge

"The ignorant man takes counsel of the stars; but the wise man takes counsel of God, who made the stars." -

"A wise man is never surprised." -

"Disease generally begins that equality which death completes; the distinctions which set one man so much above another are very little perceived in the gloom of a sick-chamber, where it will be vain to expect entertainment from the gay, or instruction from the wise; where all human glory is obliterated, the wit is clouded, the reasoner perplexed, and the hero subdued; where the highest and brightest of mortal being finds nothing left behind him but the consciousness of innocence." -

"Every man wishes to be wise, and they who cannot be wise are almost always cunning." -

"Old Times have bequeathed us a precept, to be merry and wise, but who has been able to observe it?" -

"No matter how dull, or how mean, or how wise a man is, he feels that happiness is his indisputable right." -

"A wise man will select his books, for he would not wish to class them all under the sacred name of friends. Some can be accepted only as acquaintances. The best books of all kinds are taken to the heart, and cherished as his most precious possessions. Others to be chatted with for a time, to spend a few pleasant hours with and laid aside, but not forgotten." - James Alfred Langford

"He who knows others is learned: He who knows himself is wise." -

"He who understands others is learned. He who knows himself is wise. He who conquers others has muscular strength. He who subdues himself is strong. He who is content is wealthy. He who does not lose his soul will endure." -

"The wise man is wise because he understands his ignorance... The wise are not learned; the learned are not wise." -

"To know men is to be wise. To know one's self is to be illumined." -

"Who, in the midst of just provocation to anger, instantly finds the fit word which settles all around him in silence is more than wise or just; he is, were he a beggar, of more than royal blood, he is of celestial descent." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"A wise man reflects before he speaks. A fool speaks, and then reflects on what he has uttered." - Alain de Lille (or Alanus ab Insulis)

"The opposition is indispensable. A good statesman, like any other sensible human being, always learns more from his opponents than from his fervent supporters. For his supporters will push him to disaster unless his opponents show him where the dangers are. So if he is wise he will often pray to be delivered from his friends, because they will ruin him. But though it hurts, he ought also to pray never to be left without opponents; for they keep him on the path of reason and good sense. " - Walter Lippmann

"The essential function of art... is to become personally enlightened, wise, and whole. Then, as a consequence of the former function, the purpose of this wisdom, the purpose of art, is to make the community enlightened, wise, and whole." - Peter London

"Few of the many wise apothegms which have been uttered, from the time of the seven sages of Greece to that of poor Richard, have prevented a single foolish action." -