François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld Quotations

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind blows out candles and fans fires.

Almost all our faults are more pardonable than the methods we resort to hide them.

As one grows older, one becomes wiser and more foolish.

Conceit causes more conversation than wit.

Few persons have sufficient wisdom to prefer censure, which is useful, to praise which deceives them.

Hope and fear go arm in arm: there is no fear without hope, nor hope without fear.

However much we may distrust men's sincerity, we always believe they speak to us more sincerely than to others.

If we resist our passions, it is more through their weakness than from our strength.

In jealousy there is more of self-love than of love to another.

It is a form of affectation to emphasize the fact that you do not indulge in it.

It is much easier to suppress a first desire than to satisfy those that follow.

It is not enough to have great qualities, we should also have the management of them.

It is only persons of firmness that can have real gentleness. Those who appear gentle are, in general, only a weak character, which easily changes into asperity.

It takes nearly as much ability to know how to profit by good advice as to know how to act for one's self.

Jealousy lives upon doubts. It becomes madness or ceases entirely as soon as we pass from doubt to certainty.

Lovers never get tired of each other, because they are always talking about themselves.

Marriage is the only war in which you sleep with the enemy.

Mediocre minds usually dismiss anything which reaches beyond their own understanding.

Men give away nothing so liberally as their advice.

Nothing prevents our being natural so much as the desire to appear so.

Old men are fond of giving good advice to console themselves for their inability to set a bad example.

Our desires always disappoint us; for though we meet with something that gives us satisfaction, yet it never thoroughly answers our expectation.

Our virtues are most often but our vices disguised.

Passion often makes fools of the ablest, and lends ability to the most foolish.

Philosophy triumphs easily over past and over future evils, but present evils triumph over philosophy.

The height of cleverness is to be able to conceal it.

The love of justice in most men is only the fear of themselves suffering by injustice.

The man who thinks he can do without the world is indeed mistaken; but the man who thinks the world cannot do without him is mistaken even worse.

The more we love a mistress, the nearer we are to hating her.

The only good imitations are those that poke fun at bad originals.

There are evil men in the world who would be less dangerous if they had not a touch of something good about them.

There is great skill in knowing how to conceal one's skill.

There's no use being young without being beautiful, and no use being beautiful without being young.

The sure way to be cheated is to think one's self more cunning than others.

The virtues and vices are all put in motion by interest.

The world rewards the appearance of merit oftener than merit itself.

Virtue would go far if vanity did not keep it company.

We always love those who admire us; we do not always love those whom we admire.

We are never so happy nor so unhappy as we imagine.

We easily forget crimes that are known only to ourselves.

We had better appear what we are, than affect to appear what we are not.

We hardly find any persons of good sense save those who agree with us.

We have more ability than willpower, and it is often an excuse to ourselves that we imagine that things are impossible.

We often pass from love to ambition, but we hardly ever return from ambition to love.

We only acknowledge small faults in order to make it appear that we are free from great ones.

We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears.

When our vices desert us, we flatter ourselves that we are deserting our vices.

When we cannot find contentment in ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

When we disclaim praise, it is only showing our desire to be praised a second time.