Quotations > J. De Finod, comp. > French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness
J. De Finod, comp.  A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness.  1886.
Nos. 1200–1691
OBLIVION: a remedy for human misery.
A. de Musset.    
  Flowers that come from a loved hand are more prized than diamonds.  1201
  Calumny is moral assassination.  1202
  The pains that excite the least pity in women are those that we suffer for them.
  Time, which enfeebles criminal desires, leads us back to legitimate affection.
Mme. de Staël.    
  Absence diminishes weak passions and augments great ones; as the wind extinguishes tapers, but increases a conflagration.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  The heart that sighs has not what it desires.
  Consideration for woman is the measure of a nation’s progress in social life.
  He who reckons ten friends has not one.
  The heart of a loving woman is a golden sanctuary, where often there reigns an idol of clay.
  No one is satisfied with his fortune, nor dissatisfied with his own wit.
Mme. Deshoulières.    
  Flattery is like false money: it impoverishes those who receive it.
Mme. Voillez.    
  Heaven has refused genius to woman, in order to concentrate all the fire in her heart.
  When the heart is full, the lips are silent.  1213
  An honest woman is the one we fear to compromise.
  Sorrow teaches virtue.
A. de Musset.    
  To blame a young man for being in love is like chiding one for being ill.
  Enjoy and give enjoyment, without injury to thyself or to others: this is true morality.
  It is a great obstacle to happiness to expect too much.
  Modesty is the conscience of the body.
  Women divine that they are loved long before it is told them.
  A coquette has no heart, she has only vanity: it is adorers she seeks, not love.
  The most lucrative commerce has ever been that of hope, pleasure, and happiness: it is the commerce of authors, women, priests, and kings.
Mme. Roland.    
  Love, unrest, and sorrow always journey together.
  When death consents to let us live a long time, it takes successively as hostages all those we have loved.
Mme. Necker.    
  With a pretty face and the freshness of twenty, a woman, however shallow she may be, makes many conquests, but does not retain them: with cleverness, thirty years, and a little beauty, a woman makes fewer conquests but more durable ones.
A. Dupuy.    
  There is nothing more tiresome than the conversation of a lover who has nothing to desire, and nothing to fear.
Mme. de Sartory.    
  Manners are the hypocrisies of nations: the hypocrisies are more or less perfected.
  Love, like axioms, can not be demonstrated.  1228
  Women are never stronger than when they arm themselves with their weakness.
Mme. du Deffand.    
  Let us laugh! Our fathers laughed at their miseries, let us laugh at ours too! Why! Lisette is not cruel, nor is my flagon broken!
  God, who repented of having created man, never repented of having created woman.
  Cupid is a traitor who scratches, even when one only plays with him.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  There are men who pride themselves on their insensibility to love: it is like boasting of having been always stupid.
S. de Castres.    
  I hate hypocrites, insolent comedians, who put on their virtues with their white gloves.
A. de Musset.    
  We love handsome women from inclination, homely women from interest, and virtuous women from reason.
  One may forgive infidelity, but one does not forget it.
Mlle. de Lafayette.    
  To please, one must make up his mind to be taught many things which he already knows, by people who do not know them.
  As there is no love without desire, so there is none without hope.  1238
  The matrimonial knot is sometimes tied so tightly that it wounds those whom it unites.
De Varennes.    
  Libertinage is on the frontier of liberty.  1240
  The greatest merit of some men is their wife.
  Men acquire acuteness; women are born with it.  1242
  All men are not men.
  Women call repentance the sweet remembrance of their faults, and the bitter regret of their inability to recommence them.
  Since love teaches how to trick the tricksters, how much reason have we to fear it—we who are poor simple creatures!
Marguerite de Valois.    
  Old acquaintances are better than new friends.
Mme. du Deffand.    
  In love, the only way to resist temptation is to sometimes succumb to it.
Mme. de Choiseul.    
  I have seen young ladies of twenty-five affecting a childish ingenuousness which has made me doubt their virtue.  1248
  What a woman wills, God wills.
  When women love us, they forgive us everything, even our crimes; when they do not love us, they give us credit for nothing, not even for our virtues.
  That a liaison between a man and a woman may be truly interesting, there must be between them enjoyment, remembrance, or desire.
  Love has no age: it is always in birth.
  With the world, do not resort to injuries, but only to irony and gayety: injury revolts, while irony makes one reflect, and gayety disarms.
  All women are equal in love.  1254
  Divorce is necessary in advanced civilizations.
  The most effective coquetry is innocence.
  Woman, naturally enthusiastic of the good and the beautiful, sanctifies all that she surrounds with her affection.
Alfred Mercier.    
  That immense majority, the fools, who made the laws that regulate the manners of the world, very naturally made them for their own benefit.  1258
  Friendship between two women is always a plot against another one.
A. Karr.    
  The prayer of Lahire: “God! do unto Lahire what thou wouldst Lahire should do unto Thee, if Thou wert Lahire, and if Lahire were Thee!”  1260
  To fall in love is not difficult: the difficulty lies in telling it.
A. de Musset.    
  Those who appear cold, but are only timid, as soon as they dare to love, adore.
Mme. Swetchine.    
  It is beauty that begins to please, and tenderness that completes the charm.
  Society, when it is not frantic, is idiotic.
  In those countries where the morals are the most dissolute, the language is the most severe; as if they would replace on the lips what has deserted the heart.
  Liberty is a progressive conquest.
  We have been thrust into the world—we know not why; and we must die to become—we know not what.
Mme. d’Albany.    
  The woman who loves us is only a woman, but the woman we love is a celestial being whose defects disappear under the prism through which we see her.
E. de Girardin.    
  Man is Creation’s master-piece. But who says so?—Man!
  The conversation of women in society resembles the straw used in packing china: it is nothing, yet, without it, everything would be broken.
Mme. de Salm.    
  A little love rapidly develops the sensibilities and intelligence of women: it is through the heart that they ripen or mold.
  The nervous fluid in man is consumed by the brain; in woman, by the heart: it is there that they are the most sensitive.
  In love, great pleasures come very near great sorrows.
Mlle. de Lespinasse.    
  “O merciful Heaven! may my last season be still a spring!”
  It is modesty that places in the feeble hand of beauty the sceptre that commands power.
  All or nothing is the motto of Love.  1276
  All and nothing is the motto of Hymen.
  Finesse has been given to woman to compensate the force of man.
  Would you know how to give? Put yourself in the place of him who receives.
Mme. de Puisieux.    
  The science of women, as that of men, must be limited according to their powers: the difference of their characters ought to limit that of their studies.
  All great designs are formed in solitude; in the world, no object is pursued long enough to produce an impression.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Virtue, with some women, is but the precaution of locking doors.
  The reasonable worship of a just God who punishes and rewards, would undoubtedly contribute to the happiness of men; but when that salutary knowledge of a just God is disfigured by absurd lies and dangerous superstitions, then the remedy turns to poison.
  Man, like everything else that lives, changes with the air that sustains him.
  A woman by whom we are loved is a vanity; a woman whom we love is a religion.
E. de Girardin.    
  Men have made of Fortune an all-powerful goddess, in order to be made responsible for all their blunders.
Mme. de Staël.    
  One is no more the master of his impressions than of his coughing or sneezing.
Mme. du Deffand.    
  Women are often ruined by their sensitiveness, and saved by their coquetry.
Mlle. Azaïs.    
  If you would succeed in the world, it is necessary that, when entering a salon, your vanity should bow to that of others.
Mme. de Genlis.    
  The head, however strong it may be, can accomplish nothing against the heart.
Mlle. de Scudéri.    
  Rivals who blow out each other’s brains for the eyes of a coquette, prove that they have no brains.
A. Ricard.    
  A languid heart is tender; sadness makes love ferment.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Our virtues are often but vices in disguise.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  In a tête-ô-tête, a woman speaks in a loud tone to the man she is indifferent to, in a low tone to the one she begins to love, and keeps silent with the one she loves.
  Women who have not fine teeth laugh only with their eyes.
Mme. de Rieux.    
  Dignities change men’s morals.  1296
  Venus always saves the lover whom she leads.
  Mothers are the only goddesses in whom the whole world believes.  1298
  Celebrity is the chastisement of merit, and the punishment of talent.
  Women often deceive to conceal what they feel; men to simulate what they do not feel—love.
E. Legouvé.    
  Many weep for the sin, while they laugh over the pleasure.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  There is nothing directly moral in our nature but love.
A. Comte.    
  Many have sought roses and found thorns.  1303
  The tears of a young widow lose their bitterness when wiped by the hands of love.  1304
  Benevolence rejuvenates the heart, exercise, the memory, and remembrance, life.
Mme. de Lespinasse.    
  How many could be made happy with the happiness lost in this world.
  A man’s passions, tastes, and opinions are discovered by his admirations.
C. Nodier.    
  Cold natures have only recollections; tender natures have remembrances.
Mme. de Krudener.    
  Social usages: a respect sincere or feigned for absurd forms.  1309
  Languages begin by being a music, and end by being an algebra.
  The waltz is the charging step of love.
H. Murger.    
  To be happy is not to possess much, but to hope and to love much.
  The world is a book, the language of which is unintelligible to many people.
  Masked balls are a merciful institution for ugly women.  1314
  Man is not depraved by true pleasures, but by false ones.
De Lacretelle.    
  Love for old men is sun on the snow: it dazzles more than it warms them.
J. Petit-Senn.    
  Sometimes we must have love, either as a desirable good or an inevitable evil.
  A woman’s life can be divided thus: the age when she dances but does not dare to waltz—it is the spring; the age when she dances and dares to waltz—it is summer; the age when she dances but prefers to waltz—it is autumn; finally, when she dances no longer—it is winter, that rigorous winter of life.
Mme. de Girardin.    
  Some old men like to give good precepts to console themselves for their inability no longer to give bad examples.
A. Dupuy.    
  What the hand can not reach is but a dream.
  Civility is a desire to receive civility, and to be accounted well bred.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  In love, it is as it was with the thieves of Sparta: only the awkward are punished.  1322
  Absolutism is tolerant, only because it knows itself mighty.
A. de Gasparin.    
  Calumny spreads like an oil-spot: we endeavor to cleanse it, but the mark remains.
Mlle. de Lespinasse.    
  In love, one must not attack a place unless one storms it.  1325
  Marriage is a science.
  We scoff at women who take us seriously, and we take tragically to those who scoff at us.  1327
  Women have no worse enemies than women.
  Hymen comes after love, as smoke after flame.
  If you wish a coquette to regard you, cease to regard her.  1330
  It is easier to make all Europe agree than two women.
Louis XIV.    
  We live with our defects as with the odors we carry about us: we do not perceive them, but they incommode those who approach us.
Mme. de Lambert.    
  Agreeable advice is rarely useful advice.
  At eighteen, one adores at once; at twenty, one loves; at thirty, one desires; at forty, one reflects.
P. de Kock.    
  A woman who has surrendered her lips has surrendered everything.
  This world is but a lottery of goods, of ranks, of dignities, of rights.
  A beautiful woman is the paradise of the eyes, the hell of the soul, and the purgatory of the purse.  1337
  The past gives us regret, the present sorrow, and the future fear.
Mme. de Lambert.    
  In love, the confidant of a woman’s sorrow often becomes the consoler of it.  1339
  Our years, our debts, and our enemies are always more numerous than we imagine.
C. Nodier.    
  He who pretends to know everything proves that he knows nothing.
Le Bailly.    
  The attainment of our greatest desires is often the source of our greatest sorrows.  1342
  Marriage communicates to women the vices of men, but never their virtues.
  The remembrance of the good done those we have loved, is the only consolation left us when we have lost them.
  Pleasure and pain, the good, and the bad, are so intermixed that we can not shun the one without depriving ourselves of the other.
Mme. de Maintenon.    
  It is not always for virtue’s sake that women are virtuous.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  We find nothing good in life but what makes us forget it.
Mme. de Staël.    
  Coquetry is the desire to please, without the want of love.
  At fifteen, to dance is a pleasure; at twenty-five, a pretext; at forty, a fatigue.
A. Ricard.    
  The weaknesses of women have been given them by nature to exercise the virtues of men.
Mme. Necker.    
  Love without desire is a delusion: it does not exist in nature.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  Hell is paved with women’s tongues.
Abbé Guyon.    
  Woman is the heart of man.
  If the young knew—if the old could!
  The only secret a woman guards inviolably is that of her age.  1355
  The morals of the world are only casuistry.  1356
  The worst of all misalliances is that of the heart.
  Homeliness is the best guardian of a young girl’s virtue.
Mme. de Genlis.    
  The world ceases to be a pleasure when it ceases to be a speculation.  1359
  Love is the poetry of the senses.
  One wearies delightfully with women.  1361
  Love is the beginning, the middle, and the end of everything.
  Philosophy teaches us to bear with calmness—the misfortunes of our friends.  1363
  Nothing is more difficult than to choose a good husband—unless it be to choose a good wife.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Love begins too well to end well.
  What a husband forbids, a wife desires.
  The rudest man, inspired by passion, is more persuasive than the most eloquent man, if uninspired.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  There is no game of chance more hazardous than marriage.
J. David.    
  Whoever has learned to love, has learned to be silent.
Mme. de Sartory.    
  Women are happier in the love they inspire than in that which they feel: men are just the contrary.
  Love is a torrent that one checks by digging a bed for it.
  A woman is a well-served table, that one sees with different eyes before and after the meal.  1372
  It is necessary to be almost a genius to make a good husband.
  We accuse women of insincerity without perceiving that they are more sincere with us than with themselves.  1374
  Pleasure may come of illusion, but happiness can only come of reality.
  The duration of passion is no more in our power than the duration of life.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  To swear to love always is to affirm that two beings essentially changeable will never change.  1377
  The prodigality of women has reached such proportions that one must be wealthy to have one for himself: we have no other resource than to love the wives of others.
A. Karr.    
  The world forgives with difficulty the fact that one can be happy without it.  1379
  We quarrel with unfortunates to be exempted from pitying them.
  Poverty of the soul is worse than that of fortune.
Mme. de Lambert.    
  To enjoy reading is to transform wearisome hours into delightful ones.
  “Well! sage Evhemere, what have you seen in all your travels?” “Follies!”
  Who elevates himself isolates himself.
  A beautiful woman pleases the eye, a good woman pleases the heart: one is a jewel, the other a treasure.
Napoleon I.    
  Memory records services with a pencil, injuries with a graver.
De Ségur.    
  Reason is the torch of friendship, judgment its guide, tenderness its aliment.
De Bonald.    
  There is in hypocrisy as much folly as vice: it is as easy to be honest as to appear so.
Mme. de Staël.    
  Wit is a zero added to our moral qualities; but which, standing alone, represents nothing.
C. Jordan.    
  Some women boast of having never accorded anything; perhaps it is because they have never been asked anything.  1390
  The anticipation of pleasure often equals the pleasure itself.
Fabre d’Eglantine.    
  The greatest miracle of love is that it cures coquetry.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Hope is a sarcasm.
Alfred Mercier (“La fille du prêtre”).    
  The misfortune of those who have loved is that they can find nothing to replace love.
  Men make laws; women make manners.
De Ségur.    
  Do you wish a portrait that is not flattered? Ask a woman to make one of her rival.
De Propriac.    
  Vows of love prove its inconstancy.
  Who has not what he loves, must love what he has.
  A husband is a plaster that cures all the ills of girlhood.
  The beginning and the decline of love manifest themselves in the embarrassment that one feels in the tête-ô-tête.
La Bruyère.    
  The wealthiest man is he who is most economical; the poorest is he who is most miserly.
  O kiss! mysterious beverage that the lips of lovers pour into each other, as into thirsty cups!
A. de Musset.    
  Love should dare everything when it has everything to fear.
  Hearts agree; minds dispute.
  Vows are the false money that pays for the sacrifices of love.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  Woman is a creature between man and the angels.
  Everything comes and goes. To-day in joy, to-morrow in sorrow. We advance, we retreat, we struggle; then, the eternal and profound silence of death!
Victor Hugo.    
  One loves more the first time, better the second.
  Beggars are the vermin that attach themselves to the rich.  1409
  There never has been a nation that has not looked upon woman as the companion or the consolation of man, or as the sacred instrument of his life, and that has not honored her in those characters.
A. de Musset.    
  Men are like money: we must take them for their value, whatever may be the effigy.
Mme. Necker.    
  Words really flattering are not those which we prepare, but those which escape us unthinkingly.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  Woman lives by sentiment, man by action.
  There is no endurable slavery but that of the heart.  1414
  Great minds comprehend more in a word, a look, a pressure of the hand, than ordinary men in long conversations, or the most elaborate correspondence.
  Woman is the altar of love.  1416
  The laws of love unite man and woman so strongly that no human laws can separate them.
  Who of us has not shed tears over the tomb of a loved one!
  What is the world, or its opinion, to him who has studied in the lives of men the mysteries of their egotism and perfidy! He knows that the best and most generous hearts are often forced to tread the thorny paths, where insults and outrages are heaped upon them!
George Sand.    
  Success is a fruit slow to ripen.  1420
  He who never leaves his country is full of prejudices.  1421
  There is something of woman in everything that pleases.
  The best philosophy to employ toward the world is to alloy the sarcasm of gayety with the indulgence of contempt.
  The friends of our friends are our friends.
  Men do not always love those they esteem; women, on the contrary, esteem only those they love.
S. Dubay.    
  When I cast my bread to the birds on the shores, the waves seemed to say: Hope! for, when thou comest to want, God will return thy bread! God still owes it to me.
Hégésippe Moreau.    
  It is a misfortune for a woman never to be loved, but it is a humiliation to be loved no more.
  Fortune and caprice govern the world.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  The same conditions should be made in marriage that are made in the case of houses that one rents for a term of three, six, or nine years, with the privilege of becoming the purchaser if the house suits.
Prince de Ligne.    
  The way to make friendships that will last long is to be long in making them.  1430
  Circumstances do not make men: they discover them.
  One should choose a wife with the ears, rather than with the eyes.
  The less clothing Love wears, the warmer he is.  1433
  Shallow men speak of the past, wise men of the present, and fools of the future.
Mme. du Deffand.    
  Love seldom dies a sudden death
  Venus was the daughter of the waves. She gave birth to Love: we can expect nothing but tempest from a daughter of the sea.  1436
  Marriage was instituted as a penance for the sins of celibacy.  1437
  For a woman to be at once a coquette and a bigot is more than the meekest of husbands can bear: women should mercifully choose between the two.
La Bruyère.    
  Remembrance of the dead soon fades. Alas! in their tombs, they decay more slowly than in our hearts.
Victor Hugo.    
  When we read that the lost sheep is preferred to the rest of the flock, we are tempted to think that penitence is preferable to innocence.  1440
  There are hypocrites of vices as well as of virtues.
  Take the first advice of a woman, not the second.
  Marriage is a treaty in which the conditions should be mutual.
  Love is the sweetest of errors—an error of the heart, of which it is cruel to be disabused.  1444
  A misanthrope was told of a young friend of his: “Your friend has no experience of the world; he knows nothing about it.” “True; but he is already as sad as if he knew all about it.”  1445
  Paradise is open to all kind hearts. God welcomes whoever has dried tears, either under the crown of the martyrs, or under wreaths of flowers.
  Men say more evil of women than they think: it is the contrary with women toward men.
S. Dubay.    
  When we imagine that we love, it is the presence of the loved one that deceives us: when we truly love, it is absence that proves it.
  The presence of a young girl is like the presence of a flower: the one gives its perfume to all that approach it, the other her grace to all who surround her.
L. Desnoyers.    
  Love, that is but an episode in the life of man, is the entire story of the life of woman.
Mme. de Staël.    
  Love is the sovereign of youth and the tyrant of age.  1451
  Virginity of the heart, alas! so soon ravished! sweet dreams! expectations of happiness and of love! fresh illusions of the morning of life! why do you not last till the end of the day!
  Romances are not in books, they are in life.  1453
  Youth is like those verdant forests tormented by winds: it agitates on every side the abundant gifts of nature, and some profound murmur always reigns in its foliage.
M. de Guérin.    
  When two beings are united by love, all social conventionalities are suspended.
  Truth is the skeleton of appearances.
A. de Musset.    
  None have lived without shedding tears.
  People who love each other most before marriage, are sometimes those who love each other least after it.
A. Dupuy.    
  Oh! why is daily bread indispensable to the poet and to the artist! This inexorable necessity darkens for them the joys of nature and the radiations of the beautiful.
Mme. Louise Colet.    
  Women never lie more astutely than when they tell the truth to those who do not believe them.  1460
  The eye is the messenger of the heart.  1461
  Quarrels of lovers—renewals of love.
  Limited in his nature, infinite in his desires, man is a fallen god who remembers heaven.
  A woman who has not seen her lover for the whole day considers that day lost for her: the tenderest of men considers it only lost for love.
Mme. de Salm.    
  Man thinks, and, at once, becomes the master of the beings that do not think.
  We have sometimes loved so much that there is nothing left in our hearts that enables us to love again.
  It is always imprudent to marry a woman for love in whose bosom you inspire none.
Mme. d’Arconville.    
  Life is a desert waste: to beguile the ennui of the journey across it, heaven gave us the kiss.
S. Maréchal.    
  Women ask if a man is discreet, as men ask if a woman is pretty.  1469
  Friendship makes more happy marriages than love does.  1470
  What old men can do always falls short of what they desire.
A. Ricard.    
  In love, old wood burns better than green.  1472
  The art of conversation consists less in showing one’s own wit than in giving opportunity for the display of the wit of others.
La Bruyère.    
  We take less pains to be happy than to appear so.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  The art of putting the right men in the right places is first in the science of government; but, that of finding places for the discontented is the most difficult.
  One writes well only of what he has seen or suffered.
De Goncourt.    
  Old men who preserve the desires of youth lose in consideration what they gain in ridicule.
Napoleon I.    
  Only the victims of love know how to soften its pains.
Mme. de Graffigny.    
  It takes twenty years to bring man from the state of embryo, and from that of a mere animal, as he is in his first infancy, to the point when his reason begins to dawn. It has taken thirty centuries to know his structure; it would take eternity to know something of his soul: it takes but an instant to kill him.
  Esteem is the strongest of all sympathies.
B. de Girardin.    
  One could make a great book of what has not been said.
  Equality is not a law of nature. Nature has made no two things equal: its sovereign law is subordination and dependence.
  To be happy, one must ask neither the how nor the why of life.  1483
  With time and patience, the mulberry-leaf becomes satin.
  Virtue has many preachers, but few martyrs.
  To make love when one is young and fair is a venial sin: it is a mortal sin when one is old and ugly.
De Bernis.    
  The hell for women who are only handsome is old age.
  A woman would be in despair if nature had formed her as fashion makes her appear.
Mlle. de Lespinasse.    
  Most women caress sin before embracing penitence.
  Solitude is the consolation of hearts betrayed.  1490
  In love, she who gives her portrait promises the original.
A. Dupuy.    
  All our dignity lies in our thoughts.
  With women, friendship ends when rivalry begins.  1493
  “Respect my independence! Lisette alone has the right to smile when I say: I am independent!”
  It costs more to satisfy a vice than to feed a family.
  Prudery is often the mantle chosen to conceal triumphant vice.  1496
  There are but three classes of men: the retrograde, the stationary, the progressive.
  Republics come to an end by luxurious habits; monarchies by poverty.
  Solitude is the religion of the soul.
A. Dumas père.    
  Often a man is irregular in his conduct solely because his position does not allow him the monotonous pleasures of marriage.
La Beaumelle.    
  Friendship between women is only a suspension of hostilities.  1501
  We ought to die when we are no longer loved.
Mme. Sophie Gray.    
  It is the path of the passions that has conducted me to philosophy.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  A great fondness for animals often results from a knowledge of men.  1504
  Love is rather the god of sensation than of sensibility.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  In a tête-ô-tête, we are never more interrupted than when we say nothing.
Mlle. de Lespinasse.    
  The woman who throws herself at a man’s head will soon find her place at his feet.
L. Desnoyers.    
  Prayer is the dew of the soul ravaged by adversity, and oftentimes the only bread of the poor.
A. Poincelot.    
  We dream such beautiful dreams, that we often lose all our happiness when we perceive that they are only dreams.  1509
  Joy is the ray of sunshine that brightens and opens those two beautiful flowers, Confidence and Hope.
E. Souvestre.    
  There is but one kind of love, but there are a thousand different copies of it.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  To invite a guest is to take the responsibility of his happiness during his stay under our roof.
  He who can not govern his passions should kill them, as we kill a horse when we can not master it.
  To talk in a tête-ô-tête of the mysteries of love, is to play with fire on a barrel of gunpowder.
  A woman can not guarantee her heart, even though her husband be the greatest and most perfect of men.
George Sand.    
  Folly always deserves its misfortunes.
A. Préault.    
  Woman seldom hesitates to sacrifice the honest man who loves her, without pleasing her, to the libertine who pleases her, without loving her.
A. Ricard.    
  Spring is the painter of the earth.
  What saves the virtue of many a woman is that protecting god, the impossible.
  We always find wit and merit in those who look at us with admiration.  1520
  O Love! when thou findest thy true apostles on earth united in kisses, thou commandest their eyelids to close like veils, that they may not see their happiness!
A. de Musset.    
  A woman and her servant, acting in accord, would outwit a dozen devils.
  Nature tempts us continually, but we are not responsible for the sin, unless our reasoning gives its consent.
  If women are naturally more superstitious than men, it is because they are more sensitive and less enlightened.
  There are none who are truly virtuous, but those who have combated.  1525
  “The difference between you and me,” said a philosopher, “is that you say to masked hypocrites, ‘I know you,’ while I leave them with the idea that they have deceived me.”
  Some women are so just and discerning that they never see an opportunity to be generous.  1527
  As we grow old, we grow more foolish and more wise.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  A royal court without women is like a year without spring, a spring without flowers.
Francis I. of France.    
  Very few people know what love is, and very few of those that do, tell of it.
Mme. Guizot.    
  The miser is poor to the extent of all that he has not yet acquired.  1531
  Suspense, of all the torments, is the most difficult to endure.
A. de Musset.    
  A woman full of faith in the one she loves is but a novelist’s fancy.
  Grief has two forms of expression, laughter and tears; and tears are not the saddest.
L. Blanc.    
  There are some illusions that are like the light of the day: when lost, everything disappears with them.
Mme. Dufresnoy.    
  “He swore to me an eternal love. Eternity has lasted but one morning!”
  Ignorance is less distant from truth than prejudice.
  To a woman, the romances she makes are more amusing than those she reads.
T. Gautier.    
  Life is long enough for him who knows how to use it. Working and thinking extend its limits.
  The best woman in the world is the one we love.  1540
  Provocation is a play of coquetry of which virtue often pays the penalty.
  Frankness consists in always telling the truth, but not always all the truth.  1542
  Pretty women are like sovereigns: one flatters them only through interest.  1543
  However old a conjugal union, it still garners some sweetness. Winter has some cloudless days, and under the snow a few flowers still bloom.
Mme. de Staël.    
  There are no women to whom virtue comes easier than those who possess no attractions.  1545
  A lover who is no longer loved is still good for something: he serves to hide the one who has replaced him.  1546
  Life is a mournful silence in which the heart ever calls.
  Woman conceals only what she does not know.
  Sin is not so sinful as hypocrisy.
Mme. de Maintenon.    
  Nowadays, those who love nature are accused of being romantic.
  Stupid stoics! you want to change man, and you destroy him!
  A lover is a herald who proclaims the merit, the wit, or the beauty of a woman: what does a husband proclaim?
  When we do good to our fellow sufferers, we invest in a savings-bank from which the heart receives the interest.
E. Souvestre.    
  Love is—I know not what; which comes—I know not whence; which is formed—I know not how; which enchants—I know not by what; and which ends—I know not when or why.
Mlle. de Scudéri.    
  A lover is loved most, a wife best, a mother always.  1555
  Do not trust a woman, even when dead.
  To-day, we are all adrift, having nothing more either to venerate or to believe.
Mme. Louise Colet.    
  Women are demons that make us enter hell through the door of paradise.  1558
  Bachelors are the freebooters of marriage.
  Hope is a loan made to happiness.  1560
  We all drink at the spring of happiness in a fractured vase: when it reaches our lips, there is almost nothing left in it.
Mme. du Deffand.    
  When a woman is no longer attractive she ceases to be inconstant.  1562
  All men have desires, but all men have not love.  1563
  Every mortal is relieved by speaking of his misfortunes.
A. Chénier.    
  Love extinguished can be rekindled: love worn out—never.  1565
  From the day one can not conceal a defect, one exaggerates it.
Alfred Bougeart.    
  A brother is a friend given by nature.
G. Legouvé.    
  The love of the past is often but the hatred of the present.
  God created in our misery the kisses of children for the tears of mothers.
E. Legouvé.    
  One may ruin himself by frankness, but one surely dishonors himself by duplicity.
  The greatest of all sins is the sin of love: it is so great that it takes two persons to commit it.
Cardinal Le Camus.    
  What renders the vanity of others unbearable to us is the wound it inflicts on ours.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Idleness is not a vice: it is a rust that destroys all virtues.
Due de Nemours.    
  If a woman says to you, “I will never see you again!” hope; but, if she says, “Notwithstanding, I shall always see you with pleasure”—travel.  1574
  There are some passions so sweet that they excuse all the follies they provoke.
  The husband who is not loved will pay for it dearly, some day.
  Hope, deceitful as it is, carries us agreeably through life.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  The remembrance of the tears I have shed is the only good left me in the world.
A. de Musset.    
  The greatest misfortune one can wish his enemy is that he may love without being loved in return.
  Love may be found in the heart of an anchorite: never in the heart of a libertine.
E. Legouvé.    
  How many have died without having given even one kiss to their chimera!
T. Gautier.    
  Woman is a charming creature who changes her heart as easily as her gloves.
  Hypocrisy has become a fashionable vice, and every fashionable vice passes for a virtue.
  The loss of illusions is the death of the soul.
  Sensitive beings are not sensible beings.
  Women are coquettes by profession.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of man than the discovery of a star.
  Can we not seek the author of life but in the obscure labyrinth of theology?
  Heaven protect me from my friends; I will protect myself against my enemies.
  Love is the harvest of beauty.  1590
  Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume.
  Marriage is sometimes only a long quarrel.  1592
  Any confidence is dangerous that is not complete.
La Bruyère.    
  There are no marriages in paradise—thank Heaven!  1594
  Nothing makes old people who have been attractive more ridiculous than to forget that they are so no longer.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  To live with our enemies as if they may some time become our friends, and to live with our friends as if they may some time become our enemies, is not a moral but a political maxim.  1596
  Hope is so sweet with its golden wings, that, at his last sigh, man still implores it.
De la Pena.    
  Lovers who dispute adore.
  The Creator, in obliging man to eat, invites him by appetite, and rewards him with pleasure.
  Love is a malicious blind boy, who seeks to blind the eyes of his guide, that both may go astray together.  1600
  Celebrity: the advantage of being known to those who do not know us.
  A woman whose ruling passion is not vanity is superior to any man of equal capacity.
  One is never criminal in obeying the voice of Nature.
  There are more men who have missed opportunities than there are who have lacked opportunities.
La Beaumelle.    
  Mediocre minds usually condemn what is beyond the reach of their understanding.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Love is the dawn of marriage, and marriage is the sunset of love.  1606
  If there were a people of gods, they would govern themselves democratically: so perfect a government is not suitable to men.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Women are priestesses of the unknown.  1608
  If I held all truths in my hand, I would beware of opening it to men.
  Radicalism is but the desperation of logic.
  The worst of all countries is the one in which we have no friends.  1611
  The most chaste woman may be the most voluptuous, if she loves.
  Love, which is such a little thing, is still the most serious thing in life.
  There are few souls who are so vigorously organized as to be able to maintain themselves in the calm of a strong resolve: all honest consciences are capable of the generosity of a day, but almost all succumb the next morning under the effort of the sacrifice.
George Sand.    
  There are women so hard to please that it seems as if nothing less than an angel will suit them: hence it comes that they often meet with devils.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  It is sweet to die young! It is sweet to render to God a life still full of illusions!
A. Chénier.    
  Self-love is a balloon filled with wind, from which tempests emerge when pricked.
  To amuse the public: what a sad vocation for a man who thinks!  1618
  The astronomer thinks of the stars, the naturalist of nature, the philosopher of himself.
  To love is to ask of another the happiness that is lacking in ourselves.
  If man knew well what life is, he would not give it so inconsiderately.
Mme. Roland.    
  The things of the earth are not worth our attachment to them.
  Woman is a delightful musical instrument, of which love is the bow, and man the artist.
  Conscience is the voice of the soul; passion, the voice of the body.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  One triumphs over calumny only by disdaining it.
Mme. de Maintenon.    
  In this advanced century, a girl of sixteen knows as much as her mother, and enjoys her knowledge much more.  1626
  Virtue is the politeness of the soul.
  Self-love is always the mainspring, more or less concealed, of our actions; it is the wind which swells the sails, without which the ship could not go
Mme. du Châtelet.    
  The greatest evidence of demoralization is the respect paid to wealth.  1629
  There is among men such intense affectation that they often boast of defects which they have not, more willingly than of qualities which they have.
George Sand.    
  The best lesson is that of example.
La Harpe.    
  “The French Guard dies, but does not surrender!” (General Cambronne, at Waterloo.)
  Women surrender, and do not die.
Ch. de Bernard.    
  There is more merit in subduing a passion than in avenging an injury.
  It is a great misfortune not to have enough wit to speak well, or not enough judgment to keep silent.
La Bruyère.    
  Love is blind: that is why he always proceeds by the sense of touch.  1635
  What has become of those personages who made so much noise in the world? Time has made one step, and the face of the earth is renewed.
  A gilded bit does not make the horse better.
  A man who is pleased with no one is more unhappy than he who pleases no one.
De Saint-Réal.    
  In love, the husband sees but the statue: the soul is shown only to the lover.
  Evil is so common in the world that it is easy to believe it natural to man.
F. Soulié.    
  Every man holds in his hand a stone to throw at us in adversity.
Mme. Bachi.    
  Heroes are men who set out to be demi-gods in their own eyes, and who end by being so at certain moments by dint of despising and combating all humanity.
George Sand.    
  How many coward passions hide themselves under the mask of puritanism!
Mme. Louise Colet.    
  Politeness is the expression or imitation of social virtues.
  Woman: man’s first domicile.
  “I will love you always!” This is the eternal lie that lovers tell with the greatest sincerity.  1646
  Sympathy is a relationship of the heart and mind: between two persons of different sex the senses enter the relationship.
A. Dupuy.    
  Very few people know how to enjoy life. Some say to themselves: “I do this or that, therefore I am amused: I have paid so many pieces of gold, hence I feel so much pleasure”; and they wear away their lives on that grindstone.
A. de Musset.    
  Love renders chaste the most voluptuous pleasures.
  At every stage of life he reaches, man finds himself but a novice.
  It is strange that thought should depend upon the stomach, and still that men with the best stomachs are not always the best thinkers.
  The ambitious do not belong to themselves: they are the slaves of the world.  1652
  The passions are the celestial fire that vivifies the moral world. It is to them that the arts and sciences owe their discoveries, and man the elevation of his position.
  Glances in a young woman are charming interpreters, which express what the lips would not dare to speak.  1654
  Men marry to make an end; women, to make a beginning.
A. Dupuy.    
  Their avenging God! rancorous torturer who burns his creatures in slow fire! When they tell me that God made himself a man, I prefer to recognize a man who made himself a god.
A. de Musset.    
  In love, if inconstancy gives some pleasure, constancy alone gives happiness.
  Most women proceed like the flea, by leaps and jumps.
  The first tear of love that one causes to be shed is a diamond, the second a pearl, the third—a tear.
A. Poincelot.    
  Life is arid and terrible; repose is a chimera; prudence useless; reason itself serves only to dry up the heart. There is but one virtue—the eternal sacrifice of self.
George Sand.    
  Was man made to disdain the gifts of nature? Was he placed on earth but to gather bitter fruits? For whom are the flowers the gods cause to bloom at the feet of mortals? It pleases Providence when we abandon ourselves to the different inclinations that He has given us: our duties come from His laws, and our desires from His inspirations.  1661
  Prejudice, vanity, calculation: these are what govern the world.
  What prevents us from being natural is the desire to appear so.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Life is a disease of which sleep relieves us; it is but a palliative: death is the remedy.
  People call eloquence the facility that some have in speaking alone and for a great length of time.
  Women are like melons: it is only after having tasted them that we know whether they are good or not.
F. Soulié.    
  The morals of to-day are made up of appearances.
Mme. Louise Colet.    
  The coquette compromises her reputation, and sometimes saves her virtue: the prude, on the contrary, often sacrifices her honor in secret, and preserves it in public opinion.
Mme. du Bocage.    
  We should often be ashamed of our best actions if the world saw the motives which inspire us.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  God has put into the heart of man love and the boldness to sue, and into the heart of woman fear and the courage to refuse.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  It is dangerous to say to the people that their laws are unjust, for they obey them only because they believe them just.
  When a woman invokes her reason, it is a sure sign that she will listen to her heart.  1672
  Nowadays enthusiasm is accounted folly; truth, cynicism; dissimulation, self-control; stiffness of manners, dignity; deception, cleverness; hypocrisy, decency; selfishness, economy; freedom of thought, effrontery; and superstition, the prop of human morals. What progress in language!  1673
  There are no more thorough prudes than those women who have some little secret to hide.
George Sand.    
  Physical beauty in man has become as rare as his moral beauty has always been.
Mme. Louise Colet.    
  We should love our friends as true amateurs love pictures: they keep their eyes perpetually fixed on the fine points, and do not see the defects.
Mme. Dufresnoy.    
  All women are fond of minds that inhabit fine bodies, and of souls that have fine eyes.
J. Joubert.    
  Love is a disease that kills nobody, but one whose time has come.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  Of all the gifts that Nature can give us, the faculty of remaining silent, or of answering ô propos, is perhaps the most useful.
Mme. Campan.    
  Life is as a slate where all our sins are written: from time to time we rub the sponge of repentance over it, in order to begin to sin anew.  1680
  Strength with men is insensibility, greatness is pride, and calmness is indifference.
George Sand.    
  Women complain of the lack of virtue in men, and do not esteem those who are too strictly virtuous.
  Thou makest the man, O Sorrow! Yes, the whole man, as the crucible gold!
  Love is the union of a want and a sentiment.
  Manners, morals, customs change: the passions are always the same.
Mme. de Flahaut.    
  Jest with life: for that only is it good.

One loves because he loves: this explanation is, as yet, the most serious and the most decisive that has been found for the solution of this problem.
  Society, that distills so many poisons, resembles that serpent of India whose abode is the leaf of the plant that cures its bite: society usually offers a remedy for the sufferings it causes.
A. de Musset.    
  After having said, read, and written what we have of women, what is the fact? In good faith, it is this: they are handsomer, more amiable, more essential, more worthy, and have more sensibility than we. All the faults that we reproach in them do not cause as much evil as one of ours. And, then, are their faults not due to our despotism, injustice, and self-love?
Prince de Ligne.    
  “O God, whom the world misjudges, and whom everything declares! listen to the last words that my lips pronounce! If I have wandered, it was in seeking Thy law. My heart may go astray, but it is full of Thee! I see, without alarm, eternity appear; and I can not think that a God who has given me life, that a God who has poured so many blessings on my days, will, now that my days are done, torment me for ever!”
The last prayer of Voltaire.    
  Everything is for the best, in this best of possible worlds.

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