Often the fear of one evil leads us into a worse.

[Souvent la peur d’un mal nous conduit dans un pire.]

Boileau-Despereaux - fear of one evil - wist_info quote

Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636-1711) French poet and critic
The Art of Poetry [L’Art Poétique], Canto 1, l. 64 (1674)

(Source (French)).

Though this sounds like a profound philosophical comment, in reality it refers to writers overcompensating for problems in their work. Soame (1892) translates this and the following line thus:

A verse was weak, you turn it much too strong.
And grow obscure for fear you should be long.

Added on 4-May-16 | Last updated 27-Jun-22
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