Quotations by Vauvenargues, Luc de


When we feel that we lack whatever is needed to secure someone else’s esteem, we are very close to hating him.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Aug-13
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Men despise great projects when they do not feel themselves capable of great successes.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Aug-13
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To accomplish great things we must live as though we had never to die.

[Pour exécuter de grandes choses, il faut vivre comme si on ne devait jamais mourir.]

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]

Alt. trans.:

  • "In order to carry out great enterprises, one must live as if one will never have to die."
  • "In order to achieve great things, we must live as though we were never going to die."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Aug-13
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Those who fear men love the laws.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]

Alt. trans.: "Those who fear men like laws."
Added on 15-Aug-13 | Last updated 15-Aug-13
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We can love with all our hearts those in whom we recognize great faults. It would be impertinent to believe that perfection alone has the right to please us; sometimes our weaknesses attach us to each other as much as our virtues.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]

Alt. trans.: "Our failings sometimes bind us to one another as closely as could virtue itself."
Added on 22-Aug-13 | Last updated 22-Aug-13
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Some authors regard morality in the same light as we regard modern architecture. Convenience is the first thing to be looked for.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 29-Aug-13 | Last updated 29-Aug-13
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It is proof of a narrow mind when things worthy of esteem are distinguished from things worthy of love. Great minds naturally love whatever is worthy of their esteem.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 5-Sep-13 | Last updated 5-Sep-13
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The moderation of great men only sets a limit to their vices. The moderation of weak men is mediocrity.

[La modération des grands hommes ne borne que leurs vices. La modération des faibles est médiocrité.]

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 12-Sep-13 | Last updated 12-Sep-13
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The thought of death deceives us; for it causes us to neglect to live.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 19-Sep-13 | Last updated 19-Sep-13
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He who knows how to suffer everything can dare everything.

[Qui sait tout souffrir peut tout oser.]

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 26-Sep-13 | Last updated 26-Sep-13
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It is good to be firm by temperament and pliant by reflection.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 3-Oct-13 | Last updated 3-Oct-13
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It is of no use to possess a lively wit if it is not of the right proportion: the perfection of a clock is not to go fast, but to be accurate.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 10-Oct-13 | Last updated 10-Oct-13
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Ignorance is not lack of intelligence, nor knowledge a proof of genius.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 24-Oct-13 | Last updated 24-Oct-13
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It is not true that equality is a law of nature. Nature has made nothing equal; her sovereign law is subordination and dependence.

[Il est faux que l’égalité soit une loi de la nature. La nature n’a rien fait d’égal; la loi souveraine est la subordination et la dépendance.]

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 31-Oct-13 | Last updated 31-Oct-13
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The favorites of fortune or of fame topple from their pedestals before our eyes without diverting us from ambition.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 7-Nov-13 | Last updated 7-Nov-13
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Patience is the art of hoping.

[La patience est l’art d’espérer.]

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 14-Nov-13 | Last updated 14-Nov-13
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Children are taught to fear and obey; the avarice, pride, or timidity of parents teaches children economy, arrogance, or submission. They are also encouraged to be imitators, a course to which they are already only too much inclined. No one thinks of making them original, courageous, independent.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
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Added on 21-Nov-13 | Last updated 21-Nov-13
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If children had teachers for judgment and eloquence as they have for languages, if their memory was exercised less than their energy or their natural genius, if instead of deadening their vivacity of mind we tried to elevate the free scope and impulses of their souls, what might not result from a fine disposition? As it is, we forget that courage, or love of truth and glory are the virtues that matter most in youth; and our one endeavor is to subdue our children’s spirits, in order to teach them that dependence and suppleness are the first laws of success in life.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 5-Dec-13 | Last updated 5-Dec-13
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When we are convinced of some great truths, and feel our convictions keenly, we must not fear to express it, although others have said it before us. Every thought is new when an author expresses it in a manner peculiar to himself.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 12-Dec-13 | Last updated 12-Dec-13
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Mercy is of greater value than justice.

[La clémence vaut mieux que la justice.]

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 19-Dec-13 | Last updated 19-Dec-13
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Our errors and our controversies, in the sphere of morality, arise sometimes from looking on men as though they could be altogether bad, or altogether good.

[Nos erreurs et nos divisions dans la morale viennent quelquefois de ce que nous considérons les hommes comme s’ils pouvaient être tout à fait vicieux ou tout à fait bons.]

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], # 31 (1746) [tr. Stevens (1940)]
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Added on 24-Oct-14 | Last updated 24-Oct-14
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We should expect the best and the worst from mankind, as from the weather.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #102 (1746) [tr. Stevens (1940)]
Added on 24-Feb-10 | Last updated 8-Aug-13
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Men’s maxims reveal their characters.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #107 (1746) [tr Stevens (1940)]

Alt. trans.: "The maxims of men reveal their hearts."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 31-Jul-18
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A generous heart suffers for the misfortunes of others as much as though it had caused them.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #173 (1746) [tr. Stevens (1940)]
Added on 28-Sep-16 | Last updated 14-Jun-17
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The principle of the mind does not differ from that of the body, which cannot be sustained without constant nourishment.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #194 (1746) [tr. Stevens (1940)]
Added on 16-Sep-11 | Last updated 8-Aug-13
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The strength or weakness of our conviction depends more on our courage than on our intelligence.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #318 (1746) [tr. Stevens (1940)]
Added on 13-May-09 | Last updated 8-Aug-13
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Despair is a greater deceiver than hope.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #455 (1746) [tr. Stevens (1940)]
Added on 5-Oct-09 | Last updated 8-Aug-13
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The lazy are always wanting to do something.

[Les paresseux ont toujours envie de faire quelque chose.]

 

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #467 (1746)

Alt. trans.:

  • "Lazy people are always looking for something to do."
  • "Lazy people are always anxious to be doing something."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Aug-13
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The greatest evil which fortune can inflict on men is to endow them with small talents and great ambition.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #562 [tr. Stevens] (1746)
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Added on 14-Jun-17 | Last updated 14-Jun-17
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The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one’s opportunities, and to make the most of one’s resources.

[Le plus grand effort de l’esprit est de se tenier à la hauteur de la fortune, ou au niveau des richesses.]

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #583 (1746)

Alt. trans.: "The supreme achievement of the human spirit is to be equal to one's fortune, or to live at the level of one's means."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Aug-13
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Necessity relieves us from the embarrassment of choice.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #592 (1746) [tr. Stevens]
Added on 8-Aug-13 | Last updated 8-Aug-13
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