Strictly speaking, there is but one real evil: I mean acute pain. All other complaints are so considerably diminished by time that it is plain the grief is owing to our passion, since the sensation of it vanishes when that is over.
Whoever will cultivate their own mind will find full employment. Every virtue does not only require great care in the planting, but as much daily solicitude in cherishing as exotic fruits and flowers; the vices and passions (which I am afraid are the natural product of the soil) demand perpetual weeding. Add to this the search after knowledge... and the longest life is too short.
We travelers are in very hard circumstances. If we say nothing but what has been said before us, we are dull and have observed nothing. If we tell anything new, we are laughed at as fabulous and romantic.
Take back the beauty and wit you bestow upon me; leave me my own mediocrity of agreeableness and genius, but leave me also my sincerity, my constancy, and my plain dealing; 'Tis all I have to recommend me to the esteem either of others or myself.
Nature has not placed us in an inferior rank to men, no more than the females of other animals, where we see no distinction of capacity, though I am persuaded if there was a commonwealth of rational horses... it would be an established maxim amongst them that a mare could not be taught to pace.
I wish you would moderate that fondness you have for your children. I do not mean you should abate any part of your care, or not do your duty to them in its utmost extent, but I would have you early prepare yourself for disappointments, which are heavy in proportion to their being surprising.
I don't say 'Tis impossible for an impudent man not to rise in the world, but a moderate merit with a large share of impudence is more probable to be advanced than the greatest qualifications without it.
Nobody can deny but religion is a comfort to the distressed, a cordial to the sick, and sometimes a restraint on the wicked; therefore whoever would argue or laugh it out of the world without giving some equivalent for it ought to be treated as a common enemy.
The use of knowledge in our sex (beside the amusement of solitude) is to moderate the passions and learn to be contented with a small expense, which are the certain effects of a studious life and, it may be, preferable even to that fame which men have engrossed to themselves and will not suffer us to share.
I have never, in all my various travels, seen but two sorts of people I mean men and women, who always have been, and ever will be, the same. The same vices and the same follies have been the fruit of all ages, though sometimes under different names.
The pretty fellows you speak of, I own entertain me sometimes, but is it impossible to be diverted with what one despises? I can laugh at a puppet show, at the same time I know there is nothing in it worth my attention or regard.
I have all my life been on my guard against the information conveyed by the sense of hearing -- it being one of my earliest observations, the universal inclination of humankind is to be led by the ears, and I am sometimes apt to imagine that they are given to men as they are to pitchers, purposely that they may be carried about by them.
I regard almost all quarrels of princes on the same footing, and I see nothing that marks man's unreason so positively as war. Indeed, what folly to kill one another for interests often imaginary, and always for the pleasure of persons who do not think themselves even obliged to those who sacrifice themselves for them!
We are educated in the grossest ignorance, and no art omitted to stifle our natural reason; if some few get above their nurses instructions, our knowledge must rest concealed and be as useless to the world as gold in the mine.