Quotes by Voltaire

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François Marie Arouet (who later assumed the name Voltaire) was born in Paris on November 21, 1694. The family was wealthy, his father was a notary and his mother maintained contacts with friends interested in belles-lettres and ...

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Work keeps at bay, three great evils -- boredom, vice and need.

Truth is a fruit which should not be plucked until it is ripe.
Let us work without theorizing, 'Tis the only way to make life endurable.
In the case of news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.
Work is often the father of pleasure.
Self-love is the instrument of our preservation.
He who doesn't have the spirit of his time, has all its misery.
Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.
I was never ruined but twice; once when I lost a lawsuit and once when I won one.
Governments need to have both shepherds and butchers.
The great consolation in life is to say what one thinks.
Exaggeration is the inseparable companion of greatness.
The world embarrasses me, and I cannot dream that this watch exists and has no watchmaker.
It is not known precisely where angels dwell -- whether in the air, the void, or the planets. It has not been God's pleasure that we should be informed of their abode.
You can never correct your work well until you have forgotten it.
Paradise is Where I Am.
To announce truths is an infallible receipt for being persecuted.
Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly.
The history of human opinion is scarcely anything more than the history of human errors.
The public is a ferocious beast. One must either chain it up or flee from it.
The pursuit of what is true and the practice of what is good are the two most important objects of philosophy.
Every abuse ought to be reformed, unless the reform is more dangerous than the abuse itself.
We owe respect to the living. To the dead we owe only truth.
Independence in the end is the fruit of injustice.
A witty saying proves nothing.
In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
History is just the portrayal of crimes and misfortunes.
History is nothing but a pack of tricks that we play upon the dead.
Men hate the individual whom they call avaricious only because nothing can be gained from him.
God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.
God is always on the side of the heaviest battalions.
Liberty, then, about which so many volumes have been written is, when accurately defined, only the power of acting.
What a heavy burden is a name that has become famous too soon.
Men who are occupied in the restoration of health to other men, by the joint exertion of skill and humanity, are above all the great of the earth. They even partake of divinity, since to preserve and renew is almost as noble as to create.
One of the chief misfortunes of honest people is that they are cowardly.
He who dies before many witnesses always does so with courage.
The Pope is an idol whose hands are tied and whose feet are kissed.
All the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books.
In this country it's a good thing to kill an admiral now and then to encourage the others.
Weakness on both sides is, the motto of all quarrels.
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.
Time, which alone makes the reputation of men, ends by making their defects respectable.
Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.
It is only through timidity that states are lost.
They use thought only to justify their injustices, and speech only to disguise their thoughts.
We cannot always oblige; but we can always speak obligingly.
When he to whom a person speaks does not understand, and he who speaks does not understand himself, that is metaphysics.
Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the soul is.
How I like the boldness of the English, how I like the people who say what they think!
The superfluous is very necessary.
When he who hears does not know what he who speaks means, and when he who speaks does not know what he himself means, that is philosophy.
It is as impossible to translate poetry as it is to translate music.
This poem will never reach its destination. [On Rousseau's Ode To Posterity]
The discover of what is true, and the practice of that which is good, are the two most important objects of philosophy.
My prayer to God is a very short one: O Lord, make my enemies look ridiculous! God has granted it.
I advise you to go on living solely to enrage those who are paying your annuities. It is the only pleasure I have left.
The true character of liberty is independence, maintained by force.
It is fancy rather than taste which produces so many new fashions.
All kinds are good except the kind that bores you.
It is far better to be silent than merely to increase the quantity of bad books.