We only confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no big ones.
The moderation of people in prosperity is the effect of a smooth and composed temper, owing to the calm of their good fortune.
We should often feel ashamed of our best actions if the world could see all the motives which produced them.
People's personalities, like buildings, have various facades, some pleasant to view, some not.
Jealousy is bred in doubts. When those doubts change into certainties, then the passion either ceases or turns absolute madness.
Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.
We get so much in the habit of wearing disguises before others that we finally appear disguised before ourselves.
There are various sorts of curiosity; one is from interest, which makes us desire to know that which may be useful to us; and the other, from pride which comes from the wish to know what others are ignorant of.
Pride, which inspires us with so much envy, is sometimes of use toward the moderating of it too.
Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?
The force we use on ourselves, to prevent ourselves from loving, is often more cruel than the severest treatment at the hands of one loved.
There are bad people who would be less dangerous if they were quite devoid of goodness.
Women's virtue is frequently nothing but a regard to their own quiet and a tenderness for their reputation.
Mediocre minds usually dismiss anything which reaches beyond their own understanding.
I have always been an admirer. I regard the gift of admiration as indispensable if one is to amount to something; I don't know where I would be without it.
Timidity is a fault for which it is dangerous to reprove persons whom we wish to correct of it.
Funeral pomp is more for the vanity of the living than for the honor of the dead.
Few people have the wisdom to prefer the criticism that would do them good, to the praise that deceives them.
The accent of one's birthplace remains in the mind and in the heart as in one's speech.
It is from a weakness and smallness of mind that men are opinionated; and we are very loath to believe what we are not able to comprehend.
Some counterfeits reproduce so very well the truth that it would be a flaw of judgment not to be deceived by them.
Nothing hinders a thing from being natural so much as the straining ourselves to make it seem so.
He is not to pass for a man of reason who stumbles upon reason by chance but he who knows it and can judge it and has a true taste for it.
Repentance is not so much remorse for what we have done as the fear of the consequences.
If we resist our passions, it is more due to their weakness than our strength.
It is often laziness and timidity that keep us within our duty while virtue gets all the credit.
We would rather speak ill of ourselves than not talk about ourselves at all.
However glorious an action in itself, it ought not to pass for great if it be not the effect of wisdom and intention.
Passion makes idiots of the cleverest men, and makes the biggest idiots clever.
As great minds have the faculty of saying a great deal in a few words, so lesser minds have a talent of talking much, and saying nothing.
Most of our faults are more pardonable than the means we use to conceal them.
We seldom find any person of good sense, except those who share our opinions.
Perfect Valor is to do, without a witness, all that we could do before the whole world.
The sure way to be cheated is to think one's self more cunning than others.
We are nearer loving those who hate us than those who love us more than we wish.
People that are conceited of their own merit take pride in being unfortunate, that themselves and others may think them considerable enough to be the envy and the mark of fortune.
How is it that we remember the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not remember how often we have recounted it to the same person?
Nothing is so contagious as example; and we never do any great good or evil which does not produce its like.
We come altogether fresh and raw into the several stages of life, and often find ourselves without experience, despite our years.
Few things are impracticable in themselves; and it is for want of application, rather than of means, that men fail to succeed.
We only acknowledge small faults in order to make it appear that we are free from great ones.
It is not in the power of even the most crafty dissimulation to conceal love long, where it really is, nor to counterfeit it long where it is not.
If we are to judge of love by its consequences, it more nearly resembles hatred than friendship.
Old age is a tyrant, who forbids, under pain of death, the pleasures of youth.
It is a great act of cleverness to be able to conceal one's being clever.
Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.
Heat of blood makes young people change their inclinations often, and habit makes old ones keep to theirs a great while.
Great souls are not those who have fewer passions and more virtues than others, but only those who have greater designs.
The defects and faults of the mind are like wounds in the body; after all imaginable care has been taken to heal them up, still there will be a scar left behind, and they are in continual danger of breaking the skin and bursting out again.
The desire of talking of ourselves, and showing those faults we do not mind having seen, makes up a good part of our sincerity.
There is a kind of elevation which does not depend on fortune; it is a certain air which distinguishes us, and seems to destine us for great things; it is a price which we imperceptibly set upon ourselves.
We do not despise all those who have vices, but we do despise those that have no virtue.
We should often blush for our very best actions, if the world did but see all the motives upon which they were done.
There is no disguise which can hide love for long where it exists, or simulate it where it does not.
Our actions seem to have their lucky and unlucky stars, to which a great part of that blame and that commendation is due which is given to the actions themselves.
We may sooner be brought to love them that hate us, than them that love us more than we would have them do.
One can find women who have never had one love affair, but it is rare indeed to find any who have had only one.
When a man is in love, he doubts, very often, what he most firmly believes.
Love often leads on to ambition, but seldom does one return from ambition to love.
In the human heart new passions are forever being born; the overthrow of one almost always means the rise of another.
What is called generosity is usually only the vanity of giving; we enjoy the vanity more than the thing given.
Politeness is a desire to be treated politely, and to be esteemed polite oneself.
There are crimes which become innocent and even glorious through their splendor, number and excess.
Every one speaks well of his own heart, but no one dares speak well of his own mind.
Those who occupy their minds with small matters, generally become incapable of greatness.
However greatly we distrust the sincerity of those we converse with, yet still we think they tell more truth to us than to anyone else.
Hope, deceiving as it is, serves at least to lead us to the end of our lives by an agreeable route.
Though men are apt to flatter and exalt themselves with their great achievements, yet these are, in truth, very often owing not so much to design as chance.
We always love those who admire us, but we do not always love those whom we admire.
If we had no faults of our own, we should not take so much pleasure in noticing those in others.
The name and pretense of virtue is as serviceable to self-interest as are real vices.
Our aversion to lying is commonly a secret ambition to make what we say considerable, and have every word received with a religious respect.
Perfect courage is to do without witnesses what one would be capable of doing with the world looking on.
No man deserves to be praised for his goodness, who has it not in his power to be wicked. Goodness without that power is generally nothing more than sloth, or an impotence of will.
A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire.
What we call generosity is for the most part only the vanity of giving; and we exercise it because we are more fond of that vanity than of the thing we give.
As it is the characteristic of great wits to say much in few words, so small wits seem to have the gift of speaking much and saying nothing.
We seldom find people ungrateful so long as it is thought we can serve them.
The accent of a man's native country remains in his mind and his heart, as it does in his speech.
Perfect valour consists in doing without witnesses that which we would be capable of doing before everyone.
We would frequently be ashamed of our good deeds if people saw all of the motives that produced them.
We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.
If it were not for the company of fools, a witty man would often be greatly at a loss.
The reason that lovers never weary each other is because they are always talking about themselves.
Men often pass from love to ambition, but they seldom come back again from ambition to love.
We may seem great in an employment below our worth, but we very often look little in one that is too big for us.
That good disposition which boasts of being most tender is often stifled by the least urging of self-interest.
We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves.
Decency is the least of all laws, but yet it is the law which is most strictly observed.
Some people displease with merit, and others' very faults and defects are pleasing.
It is easier to appear worthy of a position one does not hold, than of the office which one fills.
We promise in proportion to our hopes, and we deliver in proportion to our fears.
We are so used to dissembling with others that in time we come to deceive and dissemble with ourselves.
What makes the pain we feel from shame and jealousy so cutting is that vanity can give us no assistance in bearing them.
If we judge love by most of its effects, it resembles rather hatred than affection.
Nature seems at each man's birth to have marked out the bounds of his virtues and vices, and to have determined how good or how wicked that man shall be capable of being.
It is with an old love as it is with old age a man lives to all the miseries, but is dead to all the pleasures.
Though nature be ever so generous, yet can she not make a hero alone. Fortune must contribute her part too; and till both concur, the work cannot be perfected.
Old people love to give good advice; it compensates them for their inability to set a bad example.
What keeps us from abandoning ourselves entirely to one vice, often, is the fact that we have several.
When we disclaim praise, it is only showing our desire to be praised a second time.
Jealousy lives upon doubts. It becomes madness or ceases entirely as soon as we pass from doubt to certainty.
What men have called friendship is only a social arrangement, a mutual adjustment of interests, an interchange of services given and received; it is, in sum, simply a business from which those involved propose to derive a steady profit for their own self-love.
Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy they are, who already possess it.
A great many men's gratitude is nothing but a secret desire to hook in more valuable kindnesses hereafter.
Those that have had great passions esteem themselves for the rest of their lives fortunate and unfortunate in being cured of them.
Philosophy finds it an easy matter to vanquish past and future evils, but the present are commonly too hard for it.
Nothing prevents one from appearing natural as the desire to appear natural.
We are never so ridiculous through what we are as through what we pretend to be.
In all professions each affects a look and an exterior to appear what he wishes the world to believe that he is. Thus we may say that the whole world is made up of appearances.
Never give anyone the advice to buy or sell shares, because the most benevolent price of advice can turn out badly.
Love can no more continue without a constant motion than fire can; and when once you take hope and fear away, you take from it its very life and being.
What seems to be generosity is often no more than disguised ambition, which overlooks a small interest in order to secure a great one.
Most people know no other way of judging men's worth but by the vogue they are in, or the fortunes they have met with.
Our concern for the loss of our friends is not always from a sense of their worth, but rather of our own need of them and that we have lost some who had a good opinion of us.
All the passions make us commit faults; love makes us commit the most ridiculous ones.
Old men are fond of giving good advice to console themselves for their inability to give bad examples.
Why can we remember the tiniest detail that has happened to us, and not remember how many times we have told it to the same person.
Moderation is the feebleness and sloth of the soul, whereas ambition is the warmth and activity of it.
Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them in others.
We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those whom we bore.
You can find women who have never had an affair, but it is hard to find a woman who has had just one.
We have no patience with other people's vanity because it is offensive to our own.
Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will we should always have sufficient means. It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible.
There are very few things impossible in themselves; and we do not want means to conquer difficulties so much as application and resolution in the use of means.
It takes nearly as much ability to know how to profit by good advice as to know how to act for one's self.
Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms inside your head, and people in them, acting. People you know, yet can't quite name.
The greatest part of intimate confidences proceed from a desire either to be pitied or admired.
The reason why so few people are agreeable in conversation is that each is thinking more about what he intends to say than others are saying.
It is almost always a fault of one who loves not to realize when he ceases to be loved.
If there be a love pure and free from the admixture of our other passions, it is that which lies hidden in the bottom of our heart, and which we know not ourselves.
When a man must force himself to be faithful in his love, this is hardly better than unfaithfulness.
There is no better proof of a man's being truly good than his desiring to be constantly under the observation of good men.
If we have not peace within ourselves, it is in vain to seek it from outward sources.
We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones.
There are very few people who are not ashamed of having been in love when they no longer love each other.
It is not enough to have great qualities; We should also have the management of them.
There are a great many men valued in society who have nothing to recommend them but serviceable vices.
The principal point of cleverness is to know how to value things just as they deserve.
How can we expect another to keep our secret if we have been unable to keep it ourselves?
In the misfortunes of our best friends we always find something not altogether displeasing to us.
The generality of virtuous women are like hidden treasures, they are safe only because nobody has sought after them.
The only thing that should surprise us is that there are still some things that can surprise us.
If we did not flatter ourselves, the flattery of others could never harm us.
Being a blockhead is sometimes the best security against being cheated by a man of wit.
In friendship as well as love, ignorance very often contributes more to our happiness than knowledge.
Some accidents there are in life that a little folly is necessary to help us out of.
The man that thinks he loves his mistress for her own sake is mightily mistaken.
We are easily comforted for the misfortunes of our friends, when those misfortunes give us an occasion of expressing our affection and solicitude.
They that apply themselves to trifling matters commonly become incapable of great ones.