Quotes by Jean De La Bruyere

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Two persons cannot long be friends if they cannot forgive each other's little failings.

All men's misfortunes spring from their hatred of being alone.
We can recognize the dawn and the decline of love by the uneasiness we feel when alone together.
To be among people one loves, that's sufficient; to dream, to speak to them, to be silent among them, to think of indifferent things; but among them, everything is equal.
This great misfortune -- to be incapable of solitude.
We must laugh before we are happy, for fear we die before we laugh at all.
One seeks to make the loved one entirely happy, or, if that cannot be, entirely wretched.
Between good sense and good taste there lies the difference between a cause and its effect.
Grief at the absence of a loved one is happiness compared to life with a person one hates.
There are only two ways of getting on in the world: by one's own industry, or by the stupidity of others.
Generosity lies less in giving much than in giving at the right moment.
You may drive a dog off the King's armchair, and it will climb into the preacher's pulpit; he views the world unmoved, unembarrassed, unabashed.
As favor and riches forsake a man, we discover in him the foolishness they concealed, and which no one perceived before.
The great gift of conversation lies less in displaying it ourselves than in drawing it out of others. He who leaves your company pleased with himself and his own cleverness is perfectly well pleased with you.
When a book raises your spirit, and inspires you with noble and manly thoughts, seek for no other test of its excellence. It is good, and made by a good workman.
The slave has but one master, the ambitious man has as many as there are persons whose aid may contribute to the advancement of his fortunes.
That man is good who does good to others; if he suffers on account of the good he does, he is very good; if he suffers at the hands of those to whom he has done good, then his goodness is so great that it could be enhanced only by greater sufferings; and if he should die at their hands, his virtue can go no further: it is heroic, it is perfect.
The sweetest of all sounds is that of the voice of the woman we love.
A man of the world must seem to be what he wishes to be thought.
Making a book is a craft, like making a clock; it needs more than native wit to be an author.
Marriage, it seems, confines every man to his proper rank.
There are certain things in which mediocrity is intolerable: poetry, music, painting, public eloquence. What torture it is to hear a frigid speech being pompously declaimed, or second-rate verse spoken with all a bad poet's bombast!
A vain man finds it wise to speak good or ill of himself; a modest man does not talk of himself.
The Opera is obviously the first draft of a fine spectacle; it suggests the idea of one.
Everything has been said, and we have come too late, now that men have been living and thinking for seven thousand years and more.
There is no road too long to the man who advances deliberately and without undue haste; there are no honors too distant to the man who prepares himself for them with patience.
As long as men are liable to die and are desirous to live, a physician will be made fun of, but he will be well paid.
We should keep silent about those in power; to speak well of them almost implies flattery; to speak ill of them while they are alive is dangerous, and when they are dead is cowardly.
A heap of epithets is poor praise: the praise lies in the facts, and in the way of telling them.
Children have neither a past nor a future. Thus they enjoy the present -- which seldom happens to us.
Lofty posts make great men greater still, and small men much smaller.
Nothing more clearly shows how little God esteems his gift to men of wealth, money, position and other worldly goods, than the way he distributes these, and the sort of men who are most amply provided with them.
Outward simplicity befits ordinary men, like a garment made to measure for them; but it serves as an adornment to those who have filled their lives with great deeds: they might be compared to some beauty carelessly dressed and thereby all the more attractive.
One mark of a second-rate mind is to be always telling stories.
Jesting is often only indigence of intellect.
False greatness is unsociable and remote: conscious of its own frailty, it hides, or at least averts its face, and reveals itself only enough to create an illusion and not be recognized as the meanness that it really is. True greatness is free, kind, familiar and popular; it lets itself be touched and handled, it loses nothing by being seen at close quarters; the better one knows it, the more one admires it.
There is not in the world so toilsome a trade as the pursuit of fame; life concludes before you have so much as sketched your work.
From time to time there appear on the face of the earth men of rare and consummate excellence, who dazzle us by their virtue, and whose outstanding qualities shed a stupendous light. Like those extraordinary stars of whose origins we are ignorant, and of whose fate, once they have vanished, we know even less, such men have neither forebears nor descendants: they are the whole of their race.
Criticism is often not a science; it is a craft, requiring more good health than wit, more hard work than talent, more habit than native genius. In the hands of a man who has read widely but lacks judgment, applied to certain subjects it can corrupt both its readers and the writer himself.
The giving is the hardest part; what does it cost to add a smile?
It is fortunate to be of high birth, but it is no less so to be of such character that people do not care to know whether you are or are not.
Grief that is dazed and speechless is out of fashion: the modern woman mourns her husband loudly and tells you the whole story of his death, which distresses her so much that she forgets not the slightest detail about it.
A bachelor's life is a fine breakfast, a flat lunch, and a miserable dinner.
It's motive alone which gives character to the actions of men.
No man is so perfect, so necessary to his friends, as to give them no cause to miss him less.