Quotations about:
    candor


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His nature is too noble for the world.
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident
Or Jove for ‘s power to thunder. His heart’s his mouth;
What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent,
And, being angry, does forget that ever
He heard the name of death.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Coriolanus, Act 3, sc. 1, l. 326ff [Menenius] (c. 1608)
    (Source)

Speaking of the title character.
 
Added on 30-Nov-22 | Last updated 30-Nov-22
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The truth is often painful and disturbing. Hence if you stick to unalloyed reality, few people will follow you. An American presidential candidate who tells the American public the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about American history has a 100 percent guarantee of losing the elections. The same goes for candidates in all other countries. How many Israelis, Italians or Indians can stomach the unblemished truth about their nations? An uncompromising adherence to the truth is an admirable spiritual practice, but it is not a winning political strategy.

Yuval Noah Harari
Yuval Noah Harari (b. 1976) Israeli public intellectual, historian, academic, writer [יובל נח הררי]
“Why Fiction Trumps Truth,” New York Times (24 May 2019)
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Added on 17-Nov-22 | Last updated 14-Nov-22
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The other part of it is [the belief that] if we just totally opened our souls to one another, we would love one another and get along. This trivializes the fact that people have deep and legitimately-held differences. People think, mistakenly, that etiquette means you have to suppress your differences. On the contrary, etiquette is what enables you to deal with them; it gives you a set of rules. On the floor of the Congress, you don’t say, “You’re a jerk and a crook”; you say, “I’m afraid the distinguished gentleman is mistaken about so and so.” Those are the things that enable you to settle your differences, to bring them out in the open. Everything else just starts battles.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Polite Company: A Chat with Judith Martin About Etiquette,” interview with Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today (1 Mar 1998)
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Added on 11-Feb-22 | Last updated 11-Feb-22
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And, oh! whate’er Heaven destined to betide,
Let neither flattery soothe, nor pity hide.
Prepared I stand: he was but born to try
The lot of man; to suffer, and to die.

[πέρι γάρ μιν ὀιζυρὸν τέκε μήτηρ.
μηδέ τί μ᾽ αἰδόμενος μειλίσσεο μηδ᾽ ἐλεαίρων,
ἀλλ᾽ εὖ μοι κατάλεξον ὃπως ἤντησας ὀπωπῆς.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 3, l. 96ff (3.96) (c. 700 BC) [tr. Pope (1725), l. 114ff]
    (Source)

Telemachus seeking to learn from Nestor of the fate of his father, Odysseus. Telemachus later repeats these words in seeking news of his father from Menelaus (4.326). (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

[T]he unhappy wanderer,
To too much sorrow whom his mother bore.
You then by all your bounties I implore,
[...] that in nought applied
To my respect or pity you will glose,
But uncloth’d truth to my desires disclose
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

[B]orn to calamity.
Let no respect, or pity mitigate
Your story, howsoever sad it be.
Nothing but naked truth to me relate.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 85ff]

For my father at his birth
Was, sure, predestin’d to no common woes.
Neither through pity, or o’erstrain’d respect
Flatter me, but explicit all relate
Which thou hast witness’d.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 120ff]

How hath his mother to exceeding teen
borne him! Let no kind thought thy tidings screen;
Paint not the tale through pity.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 12]

For sure a woeful wight his mother bore him!
Extenuate naught for shame or pity's sake,
But tell me all, as thou hast chanced to see!
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869), l. 95ff]

His mother bare him to exceeding sorrow. And speak me no soft words in ruth or pity, but tell me plainly what sight thou didst get of him.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

This man, his mother bore him to most exceeding woe --
But have no respect of my sorrow nor be soft and soothing now,
But tell all out unto me, in what wise the man thou hast seen.
[tr. Morris (1887), l. 95ff]

To exceeding grief his mother bore him. Use no mild word, no yield to pity, from regard for me, but tell me fully all you chanced to see.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

He was a man born to trouble. Do not soften things out of any pity for me, but tell me in all plainness exactly what you saw.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

For beyond all men did his mother bear him to sorrow. And do thou nowise out of ruth or pity for me speak soothing words, but tell me truly how thou didst come to behold him.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Even from his mother's womb, calamity had marked him for her own. Do not in pity convey to me smooth things, things gentler than the truth: blurt out, rather, all that met your sight.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

For if ever a man was born for misery, it was he. Do not soften your account out of pity or concern for my feelings, but faithfully describe the scene that met your eyes.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

The man was born for trouble. Spare me no part for kindness' sake; be harsh; but put the scene before me as you saw it.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

His mother bore this man to be wretched. Do not soften it because you pity me and are sorry for me, but fairly tell me all that your eyes have witnessed.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

She who gave birth to him gave birth to grief. You need not sweeten anything for me. Forget discretion, set aside your pity: tell me completely -- all you chanced to see.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]

More than all other men, that man was born for pain.
Don't soften a thing, from pity, respect for me --
tell me, clearly, all your eyes have witnessed.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

He was born to sorrow.
More than any man on earth. And do not,
Out of pity, spare me the truth, but tell me
Whatever you have seen, whatever you know.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 104ff]

For his mother indeed bore him to be woeful. Spare me nothing, extenuate nothing, nor show any pity; tell me all to the end, however it came to your notice.
[tr. Merrill (2002)]

For if ever a man was born to suffer it was he. Do not soften your account out of pity or concern for my feelings, but faithfully describe the scene that met your eyes.
[tr. D C H Rieu (2002)]

More than any other man his mother bore him for wretchedness. Do not let respect or pity for me soften your words, but tell me exactly how you chanced to see him.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

He was surely born to suffer in extraordinary ways. Please do not try to sweeten bitter news from pity; tell me truly if you saw him, and how he was.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

To unmatched sorrow his mother bore him! And don't, from concern or pity, speak false comfort to me, but tell me exactly what you may have witnessed!
[tr. Green (2018)]

For his mother bore him
to go through trouble more than other men.
Do not pity me or, from compassion,
just offer me kind words of consolation,
but tell me truly how you chanced to see him.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 119ff]

 
Added on 24-Nov-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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At some point I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth. If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves with all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and as artist, we have to know all we can abou each other, and we have to be willing to go naked.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
Journal of a Solitary, “January 5th” (1973)
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Added on 16-Nov-21 | Last updated 16-Nov-21
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It may be necessary temporarily to accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good.

Margaret Mead (1901-1978) American anthropologist
(Attributed)
 
Added on 6-Jan-21 | Last updated 6-Jan-21
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Above all, the search after truth and its eager pursuit are peculiar to man. And so, when we have leisure from the demands of business cares, we are eager to see, to hear, to learn something new, and we esteem a desire to know the secrets or wonders of creation as indispensable to a happy life. Thus we come to understand that what is true, simple, and genuine appeals most strongly to a man’s nature.

[In primisque hominis est propria veri inquisitio atque investigatio. Itaque cum sumus necessariis negotiis curisque vacui, tum avemus aliquid videre, audire, addiscere cognitionemque rerum aut occultarum aut admirabilium ad beate vivendum necessarian! ducimus. Ex quo intellegitur, quod verum, simplex sincerumque sit, id esse naturae hominis aptissimum.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 4 (1.4) / sec. 13 (44 BC) [tr. Miller (1913)]
    (Source)

Original Latin. Alt. trans.:

But of all the properties and inclinations of men, there is none more natural and peculiar to them than an earnest desire and search after truth. Hence it is that our minds are no sooner free from the thoughts and engagements of necessary business, but we presently long to be either seeing, or hearing, or learning of something; and esteem the knowledge of things secret and wonderful as a necessary ingredient of a happy life. Whence it appears that nothing is more agreeable and suited to the nature and minds of men than undisguised openness, truth, and sincerity.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

The desire and investigation of truth is proper to man. When disengaged from necessary business and cares, we are eager to add to our knowledge by examining for ourselves or listening to others. The discovery of what is secret or wonderful, we are disposed to conceive essential to happiness. Hence, what is true, simple, and undisguised, is best adapted to human nature.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

Before all other things, man is distinguished by his pursuit and investigation of TRUTH. And hence, when free from needful business and cares, we delight to see, to hear, and to communicate, and consider a knowledge of many admirable and abstruse things necessary to the good conduct and happiness of our lives: whence it is clear that whatsoever is TRUE, simple, and direct, the same is most congenial to our nature as men.
[In John Frederick William Herschel, A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy, Epigraph (1830)]

The distinguishing property of man is to search for and to follow after truth. Therefore, when relaxed from our necessary cares and concerns, we then covet to see, to hear, and to learn somewhat; and we esteem knowledge of things either obscure or wonderful to be the indispensable means of living happily. From this we understand that truth, simplicity, and candour, are most agreeable to the nature of mankind.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

The research and investigation of truth, also, are a special property of man. Thus, when we are free from necessary occupations, we want to see, or hear, or learn something, and regard the knowledge of things either secret or wonderful as essential to our living happily and well.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

The distinctive faculty of man is his eager desire to investigate the truth. Thus, when free from pressing duties and cares, we are eager to see or hear, or learn something new, and we think our happiness is incomplete unless we study the mysteries and the marvels of the universe.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

The first duty of man is the seeking after and the investigation of truth.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)

Inquiry into and searching for truth are primary characteristics of mankind. So when we are free from business obligations and other preoccupations, we become eager to see something new, to hear and learn something; we begin to think that knowledge about the mysteries and wonders of the world is necessary to a happy life.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

 
Added on 4-Jan-21 | Last updated 8-Sep-22
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A friend is someone who listens to your bullshit, tells you that it is bullshit, and listens some more.

Robin Williams (1951-2014) American comedian and actor
(Attributed)
 
Added on 7-Dec-20 | Last updated 7-Dec-20
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How beautiful is candor! All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) American poet
Leaves of Grass, Preface (1855)
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Added on 18-Nov-20 | Last updated 18-Nov-20
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One odd thing about foreign-policy professionals is that for all their sophistication, they tend to think the way to communicate with allies and potential allies is to compliment and sooth, compliment and soothe. But that isn’t polite, it’s patronizing, and to patronize is to insult. Candor is a compliment; it implies equality. It’s how true friends talk.

Peggy Noonan (b. 1950) American writer
What I Saw at the Revolution, ch. 11 (1990)
    (Source)
 
Added on 11-Nov-20 | Last updated 11-Nov-20
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Candor is always a double-edged sword; it may heal or it may separate.

Wilhelm Stekel (1868-1940) Austrian physician, psychologist
Marriage at the Crossroads (1931)
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Added on 4-Nov-20 | Last updated 4-Nov-20
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For virtue, not secrecy, is sought by good men.

[Honesta enim bonis viris, non occulta quaeruntur.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 3, ch. 9 (3.9) / sec. 38 (44 BC) [tr. Edmonds (1865)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For good men desire to be virtuous and honest, and not to be secret, that so they may sin without danger.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

What is honorable, and not what is concealed, is the object of pursuit with wise men.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

For it is right things, not hidden things, that are sought by good men.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

The good man seeks to do what is right, not to hide what he does.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

For good men aim to secure not secrecy but the right.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

Good men seek right conduct, not conduct that has to remain concealed.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

Honorable things, not secretive things, are sought by good men.

 
Added on 2-Nov-20 | Last updated 8-Sep-22
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Let none of us delude himself by supposing that honesty is always the best policy. It is not.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
Speculum Animae, Part 2, “Sunday Morning,” address, Cambridge (15 Jan 1911)
    (Source)

Inge's argument is not that honesty is not the most virtuous course, but that it is not always the most secularly advantageous course, and that such disadvantage is one of the costs of maintaining Christian virtue.
 
Added on 5-Oct-20 | Last updated 5-Oct-20
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DUKHAT: When others do a foolish thing, you should tell them it is a foolish thing. They can still continue to do it, but at least the truth is where it needs to be.

J. Michael (Joe) Straczynski (b. 1954) American screenwriter, producer, author [a/k/a "JMS"]
Babylon 5, 4×09 “Atonement” (24 Feb 1997)
 
Added on 17-Jul-20 | Last updated 17-Jul-20
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Never apologize for showing feeling, my friend. Remember that when you do so, you apologize for truth.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) English politician and author
Contarini Fleming, ch. 13 (1832)
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Added on 16-Apr-19 | Last updated 16-Apr-19
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The one condition coupled with the gift of truth is its use.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“The Method of Nature,” speech, Waterville College, Maine (11 Aug 1841)
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Added on 12-Dec-17 | Last updated 12-Dec-17
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I believe it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than to be ignorant.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“What I Believe,” sec. 6, Forum and Century (Sep 1930)
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Added on 22-May-17 | Last updated 22-May-17
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Ryunac, notwithstanding the bow, appeared unhappy with the answer. “You perceive,” he said, “that this answer is not likely to make me love you.”

“Well, but it is the truth, and I have been told that the truth has always some value.”

“Indeed it has value. So much so, that it should not be squandered uselessly; especially when doing so can be dangerous.”

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
The Paths of the Dead (2002)
 
Added on 3-Mar-17 | Last updated 3-Mar-17
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No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.

Henry Adams (1838-1918) American journalist, historian, academic, novelist
The Education of Henry Adams, ch. 31 (1907)
 
Added on 1-Dec-16 | Last updated 1-Dec-16
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Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true about Mr. Wilson now and it has been true about all our Presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Kansas City Star (7 May 1918)

Reprinted in "Lincoln and Free Speech," The Great Adventure (1926).
 
Added on 22-Aug-16 | Last updated 22-Aug-16
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There is but one way I know of conversing safely with all men; that is, not by concealing what we say or do, but by saying or doing nothing that deserves to be concealed.

Pope - deserves to be concealed - wist_info quote

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Letter to H. Cromwell (28 Oct 1710)
 
Added on 11-Apr-16 | Last updated 11-Apr-16
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He who, when called upon to speak a disagreeable truth, tells it boldly and has done, is both bolder and milder than he who nibbles in a low voice, and never ceases nibbling.

Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801) Swiss poet, theologian, physiognomist.
Aphorisms on Man, 2nd ed. (1789)
 
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Give me the avow’d, the erect, the manly foe,
Bold I can meet — perhaps may turn his blow;
But of all plagues, good Heaven, thy wrath can send,
Save, save, oh! save me from the Candid Friend!

George Canning (1770-1827) British stateman, politician, Prime Minister
“New Morality,” Anti-Jacobin (9 Jul 1798)
 
Added on 28-Mar-16 | Last updated 4-Nov-20
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To think all you say, is but candor;
To say all you think, would be slander.

William Allingham (1824–1889) Irish poet, diarist
Blackberries Picked Off Many Bushes (1884)
 
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If someone knows of a problem and conceals it from me, I get more upset from that than from the problem itself. I tell our people time and time again: Bad news first.

Donald Regan (1918-2003) American financier, government executive
In Bernard Weintraub, “How Donald Regan Runs the White House,” New York Times Magazine (5 Jan 1986)
 
Added on 7-Mar-16 | Last updated 7-Mar-16
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A Man that should call everything by its right Name, would hardly pass the Streets without being knock’d down as a common Enemy.

George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633-1695) English politician and essayist
“Of Caution and Suspicion,” Political, Moral and Miscellaneous Thoughts and Reflections (1750)
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Added on 7-Oct-11 | Last updated 30-Jan-20
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The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
“Sedition, A Free Press, and Personal Rule,” Kansas City Star (7 May 1918)
    (Source)

Reprinted in "Lincoln and Free Speech," The Great Adventure (1926).
 
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If there is one thing upon this earth that mankind love and admire better than another, it is a brave man — it is the man who dares to look the devil in the face and tell him he is a devil.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in The Phrenological Journal (Dec 1881).
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Nov-20
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A candor affected is a dagger concealed.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 11, #15 [tr. Staniforth (1964)]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:
  • "But the affectation of simplicity is nowise laudable." [tr. Casaubon (1634), #14]
  • "An affectation of being real, is an untoward pretence." [tr. Collier (1701)]
  • "But the affectation of simplicity is like a crooked stick." [tr. Long (1862)]
  • "An affectation of sincerity is a very dagger." [tr. Zimmern (1887)]
  • "But the affectation of simplicity is like a razor." [tr. Farquharson (1944)]
  • "But false straightforwardness is like a knife in the back." [tr. Hays (2003)]
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Mar-21
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The truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression. It is possible to lie, and even to murder with the truth.

Alfred Adler (1870-1937) Austrian psychologist
The Problems of Neurosis, ch. 2 (1929)
    (Source)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Jun-17
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A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Friendship,” Essays: First Series (1841)
 
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Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“The Critic as Artist” [Gilbert] (1891)
    (Source)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 23-Oct-20
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Frank and explicit: That is the right line to take when you wish to conceal your mind and confuse the minds of others.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) English politician and author
Sybil, “The Gentleman in Downing Street,” bk 6, ch 1 (1845)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 28-Mar-16
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