Quotations by Gracián, Baltasar

Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 4 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1982)]
    (Source)


Alt. trans. "Knowledge without courage is sterile." [tr. James (1892)]
 
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The wise man would rather see men needing him than thanking him.

[El sagaz más quiere necessitados de sí que agradecidos.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 5 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


Alternate translation: "He who is truly shrewd would rather have people need him than thank him." [tr. Maurer (1992)]
 
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He who is truly shrewd would rather have people need him than thank him.

[El sagaz más quiere necessitados de sí que agradecidos.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 5 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


Alternate translation: "The wise man would rather see men needing him than thanking him." [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
 
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There be some that will grant you precedence in good luck or good temper but none in good sense, least of all a prince; for good sense is a royal prerogative, any claim to that is a case of lèse-majesté.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 7 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


Alternate translation:

Most people do not mind being surpassed in good fortune, character, or temperament, but no one, especially not a sovereign, likes to be surpassed in intelligence. For this is the king of attributes, and any crime against it is lèse-majesté.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]
 
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When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.

[Que el aviso haga antes viso de recuerdo de lo que olvidava que de luz de lo que no alcanzó.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 7 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


Alternate translation: Princes will allow a man to help them, but not surpass them, and will have any advice tendered them appear like a recollection of something they have forgotten rather than as a guide to something they cannot find. [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
 
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Let friendly relations be a school of erudition, and conversation, refined teaching.
Make your friends your teachers and blend the usefulness of learning with the pleasure of conversation.

[Sea el amigable trato escuela de erudición, y la conversación, enseñança culta; un hazer de los amigos maestros, penetrando el útil del aprender con el gusto del conversar.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 11 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


Alternate translation: "Let friendly intercourse be a school of knowledge, and culture be taught through conversation; thus you make your friends your teachers and mingle the pleasures of conversation with the advantages of instruction." [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
 
Added on 29-Nov-21 | Last updated 4-Apr-22
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Some praise books for their girth, as if they were written to exercise our arms, not our wits.

[Estiman algunos los libros por la corpulencia, como si se escriviessen para exercitar antes los braços que los ingenios.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 27 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


Alternate translation: "Some reckon books by the thickness, as if they were written to try the brawn more than the brain." [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
 
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What a scanty following has rectitude! Many praise it indeed, but — for others. Others follow it till danger threatens; then the false deny it, the politic conceal it.

[Que tiene pocos finos la entereza. Celébranla muchos, mas no por su casa; síguenla otros hasta el peligro; en él los falsos la niegan, los políticos la dissimulan.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 29 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


Alternate translation: "Few are devoted to righteousness. Many celebrate her, but few visit her. Some follow her until things get dangerous. In danger, the false disown her and politicians cunningly disguise her." [tr. Maurer (1992)]
 
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Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 31 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)
 
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The greatest skill in cards is to know when to discard; the smallest of current trumps is worth more than the ace of trumps of the last game.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 31 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)
 
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There is more valour needed not to take up the affair of honor than to conquer in it. When there is one fool ready for the occasion, one may excuse oneself from being the second.

[Estima por más valor el no empeñarse que el vencer. y ya que haya un necio ocasionado, escusa que con él no sean dos.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 47 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


Alternate translation: "There is more courage in avoiding danger than in conquering it. He sees that there is already one rash fool, and avoids adding another." [tr. Maurer (1992)]
 
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Self-knowledge is the beginning of self-improvement.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 69 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
 
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The truth is generally seen, rarely heard; seldom she comes in elemental purity, especially from afar; there is always some admixture of the moods of those through whom she has passed. The passions tinge her with their colors wherever they touch her, sometimes favorably, sometimes the reverse.

[La verdad ordinariamente se ve, extravagantemente se oye; raras vezes llega en su elemento puro, y menos quando viene de lejos; siempre trae algo de mixta, de los afectos por donde passa; tiñe de sus colores la passión quanto toca, ya odiosa, ya favorable.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 80 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Truth is more often seen than heard. Seldom does it reach us unalloyed, even less so when it comes from afar. It is always blended with the emotions it has passed through. Emotion taints everything it touches, making it odious or favorable.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

 
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A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.

[Al varón sabio más le aprovechan sus enemigos que al necio sus amigos.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 84 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


Alt. trans.: "The wise man finds enemies more useful than the fool does friends." [tr. Maurer (1992)]
 
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Many have had their greatness made for them by their enemies. Flattery is more dangerous than hatred, because it covers the stains which the other causes to be wiped out. The wise will turn ill-will into a mirror more faithful than that of kindness, and remove or improve the faults referred to.

[Fabricáronles a muchos su grandeza sus malévolos. Más fiera es la lisonja que el odio, pues remedia este eficazmente las tachas que aquella disimula. Hace el cuerdo espejo de la ojeriza, más fiel que el de la afición, y previene a la detracción los defectos, o los enmienda, que es grande el recato cuando se vive en frontera de una emulación, de una malevolencia.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 84 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Many owe their greatness to their enemies. Flattery is fiercer than hatred, for hatred corrects the faults flattery had disguised. The prudent man makes a mirror out of the evil eye of others; it is more truthful than that of affection, and helps him reduce his defects or emend them.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

 
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Treat your enemies with courtesy, and you’ll see how valuable it really is. It costs little but pays a nice dividend.

[Tiénese por deuda entre enemigos para que se vea su valor. Cuesta poco y vale mucho.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 118 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Between opponents, courtesy is especially due as a proof of valour. It costs little and helps much.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

 
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Count heads. That is what matters in all things. When you must, follow the common taste, and make your way toward eminence. The wise should adapt themselves to the present, even when the past seems more attractive, both in the clothes of the soul and of the body. This rule for living holds for everything but goodness, for one must always practice virtue.

[l gusto de las cabeças haze voto en cada orden de cosas. Ésse se ha de seguir por entonces, y adelantar a eminencia. Acomódese el cuerdo a lo presente, aunque le parezca mejor lo pasado, así en los arreos del alma como del cuerpo. Sólo en la bondad no vale esta regla de vivir, que siempre se ha de practicar la virtud.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 120 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

In everything the taste of the many carries the votes; for the time being one must follow it in the hope of leading it to higher things. In the adornment of the body as of the mind adapt yourself to the present, even though the past appear better. But this rule does not apply to kindness, for goodness is for all time.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

 
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Few bothersome things are important enough to bother with. It is folly to take to heart what you should turn your back on. Many things that were something are nothing if left alone, and others that were nothing turn into much because we pay attention to them.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 121 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


Alternate translation:

Troublesome things must not be taken too seriously if they can be avoided. It is preposterous to take to heart that which you should throw over your shoulders. Much that would be something has become nothing by being left alone and what was nothing has become of consequence by being made much of.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

 
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Take the pulse of the matter. Many see the trees but not the forest, or bark up the wrong tree, speaking endlessly, reasoning uselessly, without getting to the heart of the matter. They go round and round, tiring themselves and us, and never get to what is important. This happens to people with confused minds who do not know how to clear away the brambles. They waste time and patience on what it would be better to leave alone, and later there is no time for what they left.

[Vanse muchos o por las ramas de un inútil discurrir, o por las hojas de una cansada verbosidad, sin topar con la sustancia del caso. Dan cien vueltas rodeando un punto, cansándose y cansando, y nunca llegan al centro de la importancia. Procede de entendimientos confusos, que no se saben desembarazar. Gastan el tiempo y la paciencia en lo que habían de dejar, y después no la hay para lo que dejaron.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 136 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

So you feel the pulse of affairs. Many lose their way either in the ramifications of useless discussion or in the brushwood of wearisome verbosity without ever realising the real matter at issue. They go over a single point a hundred times wearying themselves and others and yet never touch the all important centre of affairs. This comes from a confusion of mind from which they cannot extricate themselves. They waste time and patience on matters they should leave alone and cannot spare them afterwards for what they have left alone.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

 
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Don’t defend the wrong side out of stubbornness, just because your opponent happened to arrive first and choose the right side.

[Nunca por tema seguir el peor partido, porque el contrario se adelantó y escogió el mejor.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 142 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


Alternate translation:

Never from Obstinacy take the Wrong Side because your Opponent has anticipated you in taking the Right One.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

 
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The vulgar ignorance of stubborn people makes them prefer contention to truth and utility. Prudent people are on the side of reason, not passion, whether because they foresaw it from the first, or because they improved their position later.

[Vulgaridad de temáticos, no reparar en la verdad, por contradecir, ni en la utilidad, por litigar. El atento siempre está de parte de la razón, no de la pasión, o anticipándose antes o mejorándose después.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 142 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

'Tis the common failing of the obstinate that they lose the true by contradicting it, and the useful by quarrelling with it. The sage never places himself on the side of passion but espouses the cause of right, either discovering it first or improving it later.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

 
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The pillow is a silent Sibyl, and it is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 151 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)
 
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Better be cheated in the price than in the quality of goods.

[Más vale ser engañado en el precio que en la mercadería.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 157 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


Alt. trans.: "Better to be cheated by the price than by the merchandise." [tr. Maurer (1992)]
 
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Never contend with a man who has nothing to lose.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 172 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)
 
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Many would be wise if they did not think themselves wise.

[Serían sabios algunos si no creyesen que lo son.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 176 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


Alt. trans.: "Some would be sages if they did not believe they were so already." [tr. Maurer (1992)]
 
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A single lie destroys a whole reputation for integrity.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 181 (1647) [tr Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)
 
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Every fool is fully convinced, and every one fully persuaded is a fool: the more erroneous his judgment, the more firmly he holds it.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 183 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)
 
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For a thing to remain undone nothing more is needed than to think it done.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 204 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
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Don’t express your ideas too clearly. Most people think little of what they understand, and venerate what they do not.

[No allanarse sobrado en el concepto. Los más no estiman lo que entienden, lo que no perciben lo veneran. Las cosas, para que se estiman, han de costar; será celebrado cuando no fuese entendido.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 253 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1982)]


Alt. trans.: "Do not Explain overmuch. Most men do not esteem what they understand, and venerate what they do not see. ... Many praise a thing without being able to tell why, if asked. The reason is that they venerate the unknown as a mystery, and praise it because they hear it praised." [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
 
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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 nothing.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 276 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)
 
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Make the least ado about your greatest gifts. Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 295 (1647)


Alt. trans.: "The greater your exploits the less you need affect them: content yourself with doing, leave the talking to others." [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
 
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At twenty the will rules; at thirty the intellect; at forty the judgment.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 298 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


Alt trans.: "When one is twenty, the will reigns; a thirty, the intelligence; at forty, judgment." [tr. Maurer (1992)]

Benjamin Franklin adopted this for Poor Richard's Almanack as “At 20 years of age the Will reigns; at 30 the Wit; at 40 the Judgment.”
 
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The first thing to do when you are upset is to notice that you are. You begin by mastering your emotions and determining not to go any further. With this superior sort of caution you can put a quick end to your anger.

[El primer paso del apasionarse es advertir que se apasiona, que es entrar con señorío del afecto, tanteando la necesidad hasta tal punto de enojo, y no más. Con esta superior refleja entre y salga en una ira.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 155 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

The first step towards getting into a passion is to announce that you are in a passion. By this means you begin the conflict with command over your temper, for one has to regulate one's passion to the exact point that is necessary and no further. This is the art of arts in falling into and getting out of a rage.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

 
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Act like the person you are, not the way they make you act.

[Cada uno ha de obrar como quien es, no como le obligan.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 165 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


On waging war honorably. (Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Every one must needs act as he is, not as others would make him to be.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]
 
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Only Truth can give true reputation: only reality can be of real profit. One deceit needs many others and so the whole house is built in the air and must soon come to the ground.

[Sola la verdad puede dar reputación verdadera, y la substancia entra en provecho. Un embeleco ha menester otros muchos, y así toda la fábrica es quimera, y como se funda en el aire es preciso venir a tierra.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 175 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Only the truth can give you a true reputation, and only substance is profitable. One act of deceit begets many others, and soon the whole ghastly construction, which is founded in the air, comes tumbling down.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

 
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Failings of the intelligence are incorrigible since those who do not know do not know themselves and cannot therefore seek what they lack.

[Achaques de necedad son irremediables, que como los ignorantes no se conocen, tampoco buscan lo que les falta.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 176 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Because the ignorant do not know themselves, they never look for what they are lacking.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

 
Added on 10-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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Even in cases of obvious certainty it is fine to yield: our reasons for holding the view cannot escape notice, our courtesy in yielding must be the more recognised. Our obstinacy loses more than our victory yields: that is not to champion truth but rather rudeness.

[Aun en caso de evidencia, es ingenuidad el ceder, que no se ignora la razón que tuvo y se conoce la galantería que tiene. Más se pierde con el arrimamiento que se puede ganar con el vencimiento; no es defender la verdad, sino la grosería.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 183 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Even when you are right, it is good to make concessions: people will recognize you were right but admire your courtesy. More is lost through holding on than can be won by defeating others. One defends not truth but rudeness.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

 
Added on 1-Jun-22 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
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Fools are stubborn, and the stubborn are fools, and the more erroneous their judgment is, the more they hold onto it.

[Todo necio es persuadido, y todo persuadido necio; y quanto mas erroneo su dictamen, es mayor su tenacidad.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 183 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Every fool is fully convinced, and every one fully persuaded is a fool: the more erroneous his judgment the more firmly he holds it.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

 
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Vices can be elevated, but are always base. Some people see a certain hero with a certain fault, but they don’t realize it wasn’t the fault that made him a hero. An example of people in high places is so persuasive that it makes people imitate even their ugliness. Adulation mimics even an ugly face, without realizing that what is hidden by greatness is abominated when greatness is lacking.

[Bien pueden estar los vicios realzados, pero no son realces. Ven algunos que aquel héroe tuvo aquel accidente, pero no ven que no fue héroe por aquello. Es tan retórico el ejemplo superior, que aun las fealdades persuade; hasta las del rostro afectó tal vez la lisonja, no advirtiendo que, si en la grandeza se disimulan, en la bajeza se abominan.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 186 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Vices may stand in high place, but are low for all that. Men can see that many a great man has great faults, yet they do not see that he is not great because of them. The example of the great is so specious that it even glosses over viciousness, till it may so affect those who flatter it that they do not notice that what they gloss over in the great they abominate in the lower classes.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

The vices may stand high, but they are not high: some see a great man afflicted with this vice or that; but they do not see, that is great not because of it but in spite of it. The portrait of the man high up is so convincing, that even his deformities persuade, wherefore flattery at times mimics them, not seeing, that if in the great such things are overlooked, in the small, they are looked down upon.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
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The vulgar are never really happy with their luck, even when it is best, or unhappy with their intellect, even when it is worst.

[Vulgaridad es no estar contento ninguno con su suerte, aun la mayor, ni descontento de su ingenio, aunque el peor.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 209 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

... the common prejudice that any one is satisfied with his fortune, however great, or unsatisfied with his intellect, however poor it is.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

None is content with his fortune even though the best, and none is discontented with his mind, even though the worst.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
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Persons of today praise the things of yesterday, and those here the things there. Everything past seems best and everything distant is more valued.

[También alaban los de hoy las cosas de ayer, y los de acá las de allende. Todo lo pasado parece mejor, y todo lo distante es más estimado.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 209 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

People of today praise things of yesterday, and those who are here, the things that are there. The past seems better, and everything distant is held more dear.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

They of today glorify only things of yesterday, and those from here only the things from afar. Or that all that is past is better, and everything that is distant, more valuable.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
Added on 11-Jul-22 | Last updated 11-Jul-22
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He is as great a fool that laughs at all as he that weeps at all

[Tan necio es el que se ríe de todo como el que se pudre de todo.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 209 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

As great a fool he who laughs at everything, as he who weeps over everything.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

The person who laughs at everything is just as foolish as the one made wretched by everything.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

 
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Free yourself from common foolishness. This requires a special sort of sanity. Common foolishness is authorized by custom, and some people who resisted the ignorance of individuals were unable to resist that of the multitude.

[Librarse de las necedades comunes. Es cordura bien especial. Están muy validas por lo introducido, y algunos, que no se rindieron a la ignorancia particular, no supieron escaparse de la común.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 209 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

Keep yourself free from common Follies. This is a special stroke of policy. They are of special power because they are general, so that many who would not be led away by any individual folly cannot escape the universal failing.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

To keep free from the popular inanities, marks especially good sense. They are highly esteemed because so well introduced, and many a man who could not be trapped by some particular stupidity could not except the general.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
Added on 21-Jun-22 | Last updated 21-Jun-22
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Our life gets as complicated as a comedy as it goes on, but the complications get gradually resolved: see that the curtain comes down on a good denouement.

[Vase empeñando nuestra vida como en comedia, al fin viene a desenredarse. Atención, pues, al acabar bien.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 211 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

Our life becomes more complicated as we go along, like a comedy, but toward the end it becomes simpler; keep in mind, therefore, the happy ending.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

Our lives fold and unfold like theater, so be careful to end well.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

 
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Even when it comes to learning, the good student contradicts his teacher and makes him more eager to explain and defend the truth. Challenge someone discreetly and his teaching will be more perfect.

[Y aun para el aprender es treta del discípulo contradecir al maestro, que se empeña con más conato en la declaración y fundamento de la verdad; de suerte que la impugnación moderada da ocasión a la enseñanza cumplida.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 213 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

Also in learning it is a subtle plan of the pupil to contradict the master, who thereupon takes pains to explain the truth more thoroughly and with more force, so that a moderate contradiction produces complete instruction.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

A good trick on the party of the pupil is to bait his teacher, who thereby excites himself to greater effort in the declaration, and the foundations of this beliefs, whence it comes that well-moderated debate makes for most effective teaching.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
Added on 22-Aug-22 | Last updated 22-Aug-22
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Folly is either related to, or identical with, the family of Lies, for in both cases it needs many to support one.

[Excusar una impertinencia con otra mayor es de casta de mentira, o esta lo es de necedad, que para sustentarse una necesita de muchas.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 214 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

Folly is either of the house of lies, or lies are the house of folly, for in order to stand, each needs the support of many.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

They say one lie leads to another, greater one, and it is the same with folly.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

 
Added on 12-Sep-22 | Last updated 12-Sep-22
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The greatest of sages can commit one mistake, but not two; he may fall into error, but he doesn’t lie down and make his home there.

[En un descuido puede caer el mayor sabio, pero en dos no; y de paso, que no de asiento.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 214 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

A wise man may make one slip but never two, and that only in running, not while standing still.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

The wisest of men may slip once, but not twice, and that only by chance, and not by design.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
Added on 19-Sep-22 | Last updated 19-Sep-22
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There are some who turn everything into warfare, who behave like social bandits and would like to conquer others in everything they do. They have no idea how to live peaceably.

[Hay algunos que todo lo reducen a guerrilla; bandoleros del trato, cuanto ejecutan querrían que fuese vencimiento, no saben proceder pacíficamente.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 218 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)


(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

There are persons who make a war out of everything, real banditti of intercourse. All that they undertake must end in victory; they do not know how to get on in peace.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

There are those who reduce everything to war, veritable highwaymen of friendly intercourse; they seek that all they push through be made a victory; and they know not peaceful pursuit.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
Added on 26-Sep-22 | Last updated 26-Sep-22
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