31 January 2009
The Art of Worldly Wisdom - Baltazar Gracian
A bad manner spoils everything, even reason and justice; a good one supplies everything, gilds a No, sweetens a truth, and adds a touch of beauty to old age itself.
A beautiful woman should break her mirror early.
A man of honour should never forget what he is because he sees what others are.
A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.
A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.
Advice is sometimes transmitted more successfully through a joke than grave teaching.
Always leave something to wish for; otherwise you will be miserable from your very happiness.
Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one.
At 20 a man is a peacock, at 30 a lion, at 40 a camel, at 50 a serpent, at 60 a dog, at 70 an ape, and at 80 nothing.
At twenty a man is a peacock, at thirty a lion, at forty a camel, at fifty a serpent, at sixty a dog, at seventy an ape, at eighty a nothing at all.
Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.
Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.
Begin with another's to end with your own.
Better mad with the rest of the world than wise alone.
Don't show off every day, or you'll stop surprising people. There must always be some novelty left over. The person who displays a little more of it each day keeps up expectations, and no one ever discovers the limits of his talent.
Don't take the wrong side of an argument just because your opponent has taken the right side.
Dreams will get you nowhere, a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.
Even knowledge has to be in the fashion, and where it is not, it is wise to affect ignorance.
Evil report carries further than any applause.
Fortunate people often have very favorable beginnings and very tragic endings. What matters isn't being applauded when you arrive - for that is common - but being missed when you leave.
Fortune pays you sometimes for the intensity of her favors by the shortness of their duration. She soon tires of carrying any one long on her shoulders.
Friendship multiplies the good of life and divides the evil.
Great ability develops and reveals itself increasingly with every new assignment.
Have friends. 'Tis a second existence.
He that can live alone resembles the brute beast in nothing, the sage in much, and God in everything.
He that communicates his secret to another makes himself that other's slave.
He that has satisfied his thirst turns his back on the well.
Hope has a good memory, gratitude a bad one.
Hope is a great falsifier. Let good judgment keep her in check.
I strive to be brief, and I become obscure.
It is a great piece of skill to know how to guide your luck even while waiting for it.
It is better to have too much courtesy than too little, provided you are not equally courteous to all, for that would be injustice.
It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards.
It is good to vary in order that you may frustrate the curious, especially those who envy you.
Know or listen to those who know.
Let him that hath no power of patience retire within himself, though even there he will have to put up with himself.
Let the first impulse pass, wait for the second.
Little said is soon amended. There is always time to add a word, never to withdraw one.
Luck can be assisted. It is not all chance with the wise.
Many have had their greatness made for them by their enemies.
Nature scarcely ever gives us the very best; for that we must have recourse to art.
Never contend with a man who has nothing to lose.
Never do anything when you are in a temper, for you will do everything wrong.
Never have a companion that casts you in the shade.
Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.
One must pass through the circumference of time before arriving at the center of opportunity.
Quit while you're ahead. All the best gamblers do.
Respect yourself if you would have others respect you.
The envious die not once, but as oft as the envied win applause.
The things we remember best are those better forgotten.
The wise does at once what the fool does at last.
There is always time to add a word, never to withdraw one.
There is none who cannot teach somebody something, and there is none so excellent but he is excelled.
Things do not pass for what they are, but for what they seem. Most things are judged by their jackets.
Those who insist on the dignity of their office show they have not deserved it.
To be at ease is better than to be at business. Nothing really belongs to us but time, which even he has who has nothing else.
To equal a predecessor, one must have twice they worth.
To oblige persons often costs little and helps much.
True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island... to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.
True knowledge lies in knowing how to live.
We often have to put up with most from those on whom we most depend.
When desire dies, fear is born.
Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit.
Work is the price which is paid for reputation.
Posted by Michael Holshouser