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Politeness does not always imply goodness, equity, obligingness and gratitude; it at least provides the appearance of these, and makes a man seem outwardly what he should be inwardly.

[La politesse n’inspire pas toujours la bonté, l’équité, la complaisance, la gratitude; elle en donne du moins les apparences, et fait paraître l’homme au dehors comme il devrait être intérieurement.]

Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 5 “Of Society and Conversation [De la société et de la conversation],” § 32 (5.32) (1688) [tr. Stewart (1970)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Politeness does not always inspire Generosity, Equity, Complaisance, and Gratitude: it gives a man the appearances of those Vertues, and makes him seem that without, which he ought to be within.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

Politeness does not always inspire Generosity, Justice, Complaisance and Gratitude; it gives a Man the Appearances of those Virtues, and makes him seem that without, which he ought to be within.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

Politeness does not always produce kindness of heart, justice, complacency, or gratitude, but it gives to a man at least the appearance of it, and makes him seem externally what he really should be.
[tr. Van Laun (1885)]

 
Added on 24-Jan-23 | Last updated 24-Jan-23
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There are no vices more dangerous than those which simulate virtue.

Desiderius Erasmus (1465-1536) Dutch humanist philosopher and scholar
The Handbook of the Christian Soldier [Enchiridion Militis Christiani], sec. 32b (1501) [tr. Fantazzi (1989)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation:

No sins are more dangerous than those which have the appearance of virtue.
[tr. Himelick (1963), ch. 14]

 
Added on 2-Jan-23 | Last updated 2-Jan-23
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I worked my way back into a stony declivity and settled myself upon a low ledge. I began the troublesome shapeshifting work, which I paced to take me half an hour or so. Changing from something nominally human to something rare and strange — perhaps monstrous to some, perhaps frightening — and then back again is a concept some may find repugnant. They shouldn’t. We all of us do it every day in many different ways, don’t we?

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
The Blood of Amber, ch. 3 (1986)
    (Source)
 
Added on 30-Mar-22 | Last updated 30-Mar-22
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When we think of evil, we think of something violent or demonic, something filled with hatred and wretchedly hungry to devour the good. But what if evil eats a salad at lunch and is polite, speaking rationally with nice table manners?

John Kass
John Kass (b. 1956) American journalist, columnist
“Evil with salad and a nice red,” Chicago Tribune (19 Jul 2015)
    (Source)
 
Added on 31-Jan-22 | Last updated 31-Jan-22
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Race is the child of racism, not the father.

Coates - Race is the child of racism not the father - wist.info quote

Ta-Nehisi Coates (b. 1975) American writer, journalist, educator
Between the World and Me, ch. 1 (2015)
    (Source)

Coates continues:

And the process of naming "the people" has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy. Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible -- this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white.
 
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Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem so.

[Virtute enim ipsa non tam multi praediti esse quam videri volunt.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Laelius De Amicitia [Laelius on Friendship], ch. 26 / sec. 98 (44 BC)

Common translation. Alternates:

  • "For not so many desire to be endowed with virtue itself, as to seem to be so." [tr. Edmonds (1871)]
  • "For there are not so many possessed of virtue as there are that desire to seem virtuous." [tr. Peabody (1887)]
  • "For many wish not so much to be, as to seem to be, endowed with real virtue." [tr. Falconer (1923)]
 
Added on 8-Mar-21 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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If cats looked like frogs we’d realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That’s what people remember.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Lords and Ladies (1992)
 
Added on 2-Feb-21 | Last updated 2-Feb-21
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A full bosom is actually a millstone around a woman’s neck: it endears her to the men who want to make their mammet of her, but she is never allowed to think that their popping eyes actually see her.

Germaine Greer (b. 1939) English reformer, author, educator
“Curves,” The Female Eunuch (1970)
    (Source)
 
Added on 25-Jan-21 | Last updated 25-Jan-21
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The emotions I feel are no more meant to be shown in their unadulterated state than the inner organs by which we live.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
The Life of the Mind (1978)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Dec-20 | Last updated 3-Dec-20
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What is it you want to change? Your hair, your face, your body? Why? For God is in love with all those things and he might weep when they are gone.

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Italian Catholic mystic, activist, author
(Attributed)
 
Added on 6-Nov-20 | Last updated 6-Nov-20
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Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“The Hippopotamus”
    (Source)
 
Added on 11-Sep-20 | Last updated 11-Sep-20
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Behold me, Lucius; moved by thy prayers, I appear to thee; I, who am Nature, the parent of all things, the mistress of all the elements, the primordial offspring of time, the supreme among Divinities, the queen of departed spirits, the first of the celestials, and the uniform manifestation of the Gods and Goddesses; who govern by my nod the luminous heights of heaven, the salubrious breezes of the ocean, and the anguished silent realms of the shades below: whose one sole divinity the whole orb of the earth venerates under a manifold form, with different rites, and under a variety of appellations. Hence the Phrygians, that primæval race, call me Pessinuntica, the Mother of the Gods; the Aborigines of Attica, Cecropian Minerva; the Cyprians, in their sea-girt isle, Paphian Venus; the arrow-bearing Cretans, Diana Dictynna; the three-tongued Sicilians, Stygian Proserpine; and the Eleusinians, the ancient Goddess Ceres. Some call me Juno, others Bellona, others Hecate, and others Rhamnusia. But those who are illumined by the earliest rays of that divinity, the Sun, when he rises, the Æthopians, the Arii, and the Egyptians, so skilled in ancient learning, worshipping me with ceremonies quite appropriate, call me by my true name, Queen Isis. Behold, then commiserating your calamities, I am come to thy assistance; favoring and propitious I am come. Away, then, with tears; leave your lamentations; cast off all sorrow. Soon, through my providence, shall the day of deliverance shine upon you. Listen, therefore, attentively to these my instructions.

[En adsum tuis commota, Luci, precibus, rerum naturae parens, elementorum omnium domina, saeculorum progenies initialis, summa numinum, regina manium, prima caelitum, deorum dearumque facies uniformis, quae caeli luminosa culmina, maris salubria flamina, inferum deplorata silentia nutibus meis dispenso: cuius numen unicum multiformi specie, ritu vario, nomine multiiugo totus veneratur orbis. Inde primigenii Phryges Pessinuntiam deum Matrem, hinc autochthones Attici Cecropeiam Minervam, illinc fluctuantes Cyprii Paphiam Venerem, Cretes sagittiferi Dictynnam Dianam, Siculi trilingues Stygiam Proserpinam, Eleusini vetustam deam Cererem, Iunonem alii, Bellonam alii, Hecatam isti, Rhamnusiam illi, et qui nascentis dei solis inchoantibus illustrantur radiis Aethiopes utrique priscaque doctrina pollentes Aegyptii, caerimoniis me propriis percolentes, appellant vero nomine reginam Isidem. Adsum tuos miserata casus, adsum favens et propitia. Mitte iam fletus et lamentationes omitte, depelle maerorem: iam tibi providentia mea illucescit dies salutaris. Ergo igitur imperiis istis meis animum intende sollicitum.]

Apuleius (c. 124 - c. 170 AD) Numidian writer, philosopher, rhetorician [Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis]
Metamorphoses [Metamorphoseon] (The Golden Ass) Book 11, ch. 47 [tr. Bohn’s Library (1866)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans. [tr. Adlington (1566)]: "Behold Lucius I am come, thy weeping and prayers hath mooved mee to succour thee. I am she that is the naturall mother of all things, mistresse and governesse of all the Elements, the initiall progeny of worlds, chiefe of powers divine, Queene of heaven! the principall of the Gods celestiall, the light of the goddesses: at my will the planets of the ayre, the wholesome winds of the Seas, and the silences of hell be diposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in divers manners, in variable customes and in many names, for the Phrygians call me the mother of the Gods: the Athenians, Minerva: the Cyprians, Venus: the Candians, Diana: the Sicilians Proserpina: the Eleusians, Ceres: some Juno, other Bellona, other Hecate: and principally the Æthiopians which dwell in the Orient, and the Ægyptians which are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and by their proper ceremonies accustome to worship mee, doe call mee Queene Isis. Behold I am come to take pitty of thy fortune and tribulation, behold I am present to favour and ayd thee, leave off thy weeping and lamentation, put away all thy sorrow, for behold the healthfull day which is ordained by my providence, therefore be ready to attend to my commandement."

The original Latin

Sometimes referenced as Chapter 5 within Book 11.
 
Added on 29-Jul-20 | Last updated 29-Jul-20
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Many complain of their looks, but none of their brains.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Italian proverb

Also noted as a Jewish or Yiddish proverb.

This is also often cited to Sally Koslow, Little Pink Slips, ch. 5 (2007); it appears there as ""Many complain of their looks, few of their brains," but is described as an unoriginal needlepoint on a pillow cover.

See also La Rochefoucauld for a similar construction.
 
Added on 24-Jul-20 | Last updated 24-Jul-20
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Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.‬

Jane Austen (1775-1817) English novelist
Pride and Prejudice, ch. 10 [Darcy] (1813)
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Added on 1-Jun-20 | Last updated 1-Jun-20
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I make this distinkshun between charakter and reputashun — reputashun iz what the world thinks ov us, charakter is what the world knows of us.

[I make this distinction between character and reputation — reputation is what the world thinks of us, character is what the world knows of us.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Lobstir Sallad” (1874)
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Added on 2-Apr-20 | Last updated 2-Apr-20
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Judge nothing by the appearance. The more beautiful the serpent, the more fatal its sting.

No picture available
William Scott Downey (fl. 19th C) American baptist missionary, aphorist
Proverbs, ch. 6, #8 (1853)
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At fifty, everyone has the face he deserves.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
Notebook, last words (17 Apr 1949)
    (Source)

See Camus. See also discussion here.
 
Added on 7-Aug-17 | Last updated 25-Aug-20
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She smoothed her hair back from her forehead and looked at herself in the mirror. She looked like she always looked. It was probably a truth about tragedy, she thought, while the tragedy is going on people look pretty much the way they looked when it wasn’t.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Thin Air (1995)
 
Added on 3-May-17 | Last updated 3-May-17
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Great robbers always resemble honest folk. Fellows who have rascally faces have only one course to take, and that is to remain honest; otherwise, they would be arrested off-hand.

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
Around the World in Eighty Days, ch. 6 (1873)
    (Source)
 
Added on 23-Sep-16 | Last updated 23-Sep-16
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A cheerful, easy countenance and behavior are very useful: they make fools think you a good-natured man, and they make designing men think you an undesigning one.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son, #298, enclosed maxims (15 Jan 1758)
    (Source)

Labeled as letter #297 in the linked source, but #298 in the volume I am using as reference, which does not include the maxims.
 
Added on 5-Aug-16 | Last updated 11-Oct-22
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The good may prove to be a hidden form of evil. The evil may prove to be a new and not yet recognized form of the good.

Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev (1874-1948) Russian religious and political philosopher
The Destiny of Man, 2.4.1 (1931) [tr. Duddington (1955)]
 
Added on 29-Dec-15 | Last updated 29-Dec-15
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Good and bad men are each less so than they seem.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) English poet and critic
Table Talk, “19 April 1830” (1835)
 
Added on 22-Dec-15 | Last updated 22-Dec-15
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     “If they were ugly, Peter, would you care half so much?” asked Nightingale. “There are some hideous things out there that can talk and reason and I wonder if you would be quite so quick to rush to their defense.”
     “Maybe not,” I said. “But that just makes me shallow, it doesn’t make me wrong.”

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Moon Over Soho (2011)
 
Added on 9-Dec-15 | Last updated 9-Dec-15
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I have regard to appearance still. So am I no hero.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (6 Apr 1839)
 
Added on 4-Sep-15 | Last updated 4-Sep-15
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In short, we can judge by nothing but Appearances, and they are very apt to deceive us. Some put on a gay chearful Outside, and appear to the World perfectly at Ease, tho’ even then, some inward Sting, some secret Pain imbitters all their Joys, and makes the Balance even: Others appear continually dejected and full of Sorrow; but even Grief itself is sometimes pleasant, and Tears are not always without their Sweetness: Besides, Some take a Satisfaction in being thought unhappy, (as others take a Pride in being thought humble,) these will paint their Misfortunes to others in the strongest Colours, and leave no Means unus’d to make you think them thoroughly miserable; so great a Pleasure it is to them to be pitied; Others retain the Form and outside Shew of Sorrow, long after the Thing itself, with its Cause, is remov’d from the Mind; it is a Habit they have acquir’d and cannot leave.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
“A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity” (1725)
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A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness.

John Keats (1795-1821) English poet
“Endymion” Book 1, l. 1 (1818)
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Virtue and learning, like gold, have their intrinsic value: but if they are not polished, they certainly lose a great deal of their lustre; and even polished brass will pass upon more people than rough gold.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son, #118 (6 Mar 1747)
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Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
1 Peter 3:3-4 [NIV]

Alt. trans.:

  • "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." [KJV]
  • "You should not use outward aids to make yourselves beautiful, such as the way you fix your hair, or the jewelry you put on, or the dresses you wear. Instead, your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in God's sight." [TEV]
  • "Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight." [NRSV]
 
Added on 24-Dec-14 | Last updated 24-Dec-14
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Beauty is only skin-deep.

Thomas Adams (1583–1653) English Calvinist clergyman and preacher
The Blacke Devill or the Apostate (1615)
 
Added on 26-Nov-14 | Last updated 26-Nov-14
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Style has to do with the way in which ideas are believed and advocated rather than with the truth or falsity of their content.

Richard Hofstadter (1916-1970) American historian and intellectual
“The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” Herbert Spencer Lecture, Oxford (Nov 1963)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Harpers (Nov 1964). Often misattributed to Douglas Hofstadter.
 
Added on 7-Oct-14 | Last updated 7-Oct-14
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Good humor may be said to be one of the very best articles of dress one can wear in society.

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) English novelist
Sketches and Travels in London, “On Tailoring — and Toilets in General” (1856)
 
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The weirder you are going to behave, the more normal you should look. It works in reverse, too. When I see a kid with three or four rings in his nose, I know there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that person.

P. J. O'Rourke (b. 1947) American humorist, editor
Give War a Chance (1992)
 
Added on 11-Jul-14 | Last updated 11-Jul-14
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I have laughed in bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast between what I seem and what I am!

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) American writer
The Scarlet Letter, ch. 17 (1850)
 
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For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearance, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses on Livy, Book 1, ch. 25 (1517)
 
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Pay no attention to appearing. Being is alone important.

André Gide (1869-1951) French author, Nobel laureate
Journal, “Rule of Conduct” (Nov 1890)
 
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He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.

Groucho Marx (1890-1977) American comedian [b. Julius Henry Marx]
(Attributed)
 
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Handsome is that handsome does.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) English novelist, dramatist, satirist
A History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Book 4, ch. 12 (1749)
 
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Appearances to the mind are of four kinds. Things either are what they appear to be; or they neither are, nor appear to be; or they are, and do not appear to be; or they are not, and yet appear to be. Rightly to aim in all these cases is the wise man’s task.

Epictetus (c.55-c.135) Greek (Phrygian) Stoic philosopher
The Discourses (c. AD 101-108)
 
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[F]or cheerfulness and content are great beautifiers, and are famous preservers of youthful looks, depend upon it.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) English writer and social critic
Barnaby Rudge, ch. 82 (1841)
    (Source)

Often given as "Cheerfulness and contentment are great beautifiers and are famous preservers of youthful looks."
 
Added on 2-May-14 | Last updated 2-May-14
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I have never seen anyone who loves virtue as much as he loves beautiful women.

9.18 吾未見好德、如好色者也。

15.13 吾未見好德如好色者也。

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [Lun Yü], 9.18 and 15.13 (6th C. BC) [ed. Lao-Tse; tr. Huang (1997)]
    (Source)

The phrase is repeated in both locations in the Analects. Alt. trans.:
  • "I have not seen one who loves virtue as he loves beauty." [as 9.17 and 15.12, tr. Legge (1930)]
  • "I have never seen anyone who loved virtue as much as sex." [tr. Leys (1997)]
  • "I have never met a person who loved virtue as much as he loved physical beauty." [tr. Chin (2014)]
  • "I have yet to meet a man as fond of high moral conduct as he is of outward appearances." [tr. Ware (1950)]
 
Added on 18-Apr-14 | Last updated 5-Jul-20
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Behavior which appears superficially correct, but is intrinsically corrupt, always irritates those who see below the surface.

James Bryant Conant (1893-1978) American chemist, academic, diplomat
Baccalaureate Address, Harvard University (1934)
 
Added on 11-Apr-14 | Last updated 11-Apr-14
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There are some people who state that the exterior, sex, or physique of another person is indifferent to them, that they care only for the communion of mind with mind; but these people need not detain us. There are some statements that no one ever thinks of believing, however often they are made.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Defendant, “A Defence of Ugly Things” (1901)
 
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“I quite agree with you,” said the Duchess; “and the moral of that is — ‘Be what you would seem to be’ — or, if you’d like it put more simply — ‘Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.'”

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) English writer and mathematician [pseud. of Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson]
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, “The Mock Turtle’s Story” (1865)
 
Added on 28-Mar-14 | Last updated 28-Mar-14
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The devil’s most devilish when respectable.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) English poet
“Aurora Leigh” (1857)
 
Added on 21-Mar-14 | Last updated 21-Mar-14
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Appearances are deceptive.

Aesop (620?-560? BC) Legendary Greek storyteller
Fables [Aesopica], “The Wolf in Sheep Clothing” (6th C BC) [tr. Jacobs (1894)]
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Alternately, "Appearances often are deceiving." Versified by Gaius Julius Phaedrus, Fables bk. 4, as "Things are not always what they seem."

Note that there are two fables by this name. In this one, a wolf prospers by wearing a sheepskin he finds and drawing other sheep away to be eaten. In other versions, the wolf sneaks into the sheepfold wearing the skin, and then is killed and eaten by the farmer who wants sheep for dinner.
 
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Thousands upon thousands are yearly brought into a state of real poverty by their great anxiety not to be thought poor.

William Cobbett (1763-1835) English politician, agriculturist, journalist, pamphleteer
Advice to Young Men and (Incidentally) to Young Women, Letter 2, #58 (1829)
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A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.

Gore Vidal (1925-2012) American novelist, dramatist, critic
“Vidal: ‘I’m at the Top of a Very Tiny Heap,'” by Michiko Kakutani, New York Times (12 Mar 1981)
 
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The way to be comfortable is to make others comfortable. The way to make others comfortable is to appear to love them. The way to appear to love them — is to love them in reality.

Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) English jurist and philosopher
Letter to Lady Hannah Elice (24 Oct 1831)
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Whenever a man’s friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.

Washington Irving (1783-1859) American author [pseud. for Geoffrey Crayon]
Bracebridge Hall, “Bachelors” (1822)

Sometimes attributed to Mark Twain.
 
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I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.

Lauren Bacall (1924-2014) American actress, model [b. Betty Joan Perske]
London Daily Telegraph (2 Mar 1988)
 
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Every good human quality is related to a bad one into which it threatens to pass over; and every bad quality is similarly related to a good one. The reason we so often misunderstand people is that when we first make their acquaintance we mistake their bad qualities for the related good ones, or vice versa: thus a prudent man will seem cowardly, a thrifty one avaricious; or a spendthrift will seem liberal, a boor frank and straightforward, an impudent fellow full of noble self-confidence, and so on.

[Jede menschliche Vollkommenheit ist einem Fehler verwandt, in welchen überzugehn sie droht; jedoch auch, umgekehrt, jeder Fehler, einer Vollkommenheit. Daher beruht der Irrthum, in welchen wir, hinsichtlich eines Menschen, gerathen, oft darauf, daß wir, im Anfang der Bekanntschaft, seine Fehler mit den ihnen verwandten Vollkommenheiten verwechseln, oder auch umgekehrt: da scheint uns dann der Vorsichtige feige, der Sparsame geizig; oder auch der Verschwender liberal, der Grobian gerade und aufrichtig, der Dummdreiste als mit edelem Selbstvertrauen auftretend, u. dgl. m]

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. 2, ch. 8 “On Ethics [Zur Ethik],” § 113 (1851) [tr. Hollingdale (1970)]
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(Source (German)). Alternate translation:

Every human perfection is allied to a defect into which it threatens to pass; but it is also true that every defect is allied to a perfection. Hence it is that if, as often happens, we make a mistake about a man, it is because at the beginning of our acquaintance with him we confound his defects with the kinds of perfection to which the are allied. The cautious man seems to us a coward; the economical man, a miser; the spendthrift seems liberal; the rude fellow, downright and sincere; the foolhardy person looks as if he were going to work with a noble self-confidence, and so on in many other case.
[tr. Saunders (1890), "On Human Nature"]

Every human perfection is akin to a fault into which it threatens to pass; conversely, however, every fault is akin to a perfection. And so the error into which we fall in respect of a man is often due to the fact that, at the beginning of our acquaintance, we confuse his faults with the perfections akin to them, or vice versa. The cautious man then seems to us to be cowardly, the thrifty to be avaricious; or again, the spendthrift appears to be liberal, the lout straightforward and sincere, the foolhardy to be endowed with noble self-confidence, and so on.
[tr. Payne (1974)]

Every human perfection is linked to an error which it threatens to turn into.
[Source]

 
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Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator, ch. 52, epigraph (1897)
 
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Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Hamlet, Act 2, sc. 2, l. 223 [Polonius] (c. 1600)
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O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion ….

Robert Burns (1759-1796) Scottish national poet
“To a Louse,” l.43-46 (1786)

The poem is reprinted in various forms and anglicizations of Burns' Scottish, e.g.,

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion

O would some Power the gift to give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:

 
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