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Our virtues are usually only vices in disguise.

[Nos vertus ne sont le plus souvent que des vices déguisés]

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammatist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims], Epigraph (1675 ed.) [tr. Tancock (1959)]
    (Source)

Added as an epigraph to the entire work in the 4th (1675) edition. A common theme in La Rochefoucauld's work, and variations of this maxim (and related thoughts) had been in the preceding editions and even this and later (see also ¶442).

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Our Vertues are oftentimes in Reality no better than Vices disguised.
[tr. Stanhope (1694)]

Our virtues are most frequently but vices disguised.
[tr. Bund/Friswell (1871)]

Our virtues are mostly but vices in disguise.
[tr. FitzGibbon (1957)]

Our virtues, most often, are only vices disguised.
[tr. Whichello (2016)]

 
Added on 16-Feb-24 | Last updated 16-Feb-24
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As favour and riches forsake a man, we discover in him the foolishness they concealed, and which no one perceived before.
 
[À mesure que la faveur et les grands biens se retirent d’un homme, ils laissent voir en lui le ridicule qu’ils couvraient, et qui y était sans que personne s’en aperçût.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 6 “Of Gifts of Fortune [Des Biens de Fortune],” § 4 (6.4) (1688) [tr. Van Laun (1885)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

When Riches and Favour forsake a Man, we see presently he was a Fool, but no body could find it out in his Prosperity.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

In proportion as Riches and Favour forsake a Man, we discover he was a Fool, which no body cou'd find out in his Prosperity.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

As Riches and Favour forsake a Man, we discover him to be a Fool, but no body could find it out in his Prosperity.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

As a man falls out of favour and his wealth declines, we discover for the first time the ridiculous aspects of his character, which were always there but which wealth and favour had concealed.
[tr. Stewart (1970)]

 
Added on 6-Feb-24 | Last updated 6-Feb-24
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If you are foolish enough to be contented, don’t show it, but grumble with the rest; and if you can do with a little, ask for a great deal. Because if you don’t you won’t get any.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) English writer, humorist [Jerome Klapka Jerome]
“On Getting On In the World,” The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow (1889)
    (Source)
 
Added on 5-Dec-23 | Last updated 5-Dec-23
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There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.

Jane Austen
Jane Austen (1775-1817) English novelist
Pride and Prejudice, ch. 24 [Elizabeth] (1813)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Sep-23 | Last updated 28-Sep-23
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There was a time when all these things would have passed me by, like the flitting figures of a theatre, sufficient for the amusement of an hour. But now, I have lost the power of looking merely on the surface. Everything seems to me to come from the Infinite, to be filled with the Infinite, to be tending toward the Infinite. Do I see crowds of men hastening to extinguish a fire? I see not merely uncouth garbs, and fantastic, flickering lights, of lurid hue, like a trampling troop of gnomes — but straightway my mind is filled with thoughts about mutual helpfulness, human sympathy, the common bond of brotherhood, and the mysteriously deep foundations on which society rests; or rather, on which it now reels and totters.

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) American abolitionist, activist, journalist, suffragist
Letters from New-York, # 1, 1841-08-19 (1843)
    (Source)
 
Added on 12-Apr-23 | Last updated 12-Apr-23
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She weeps not for her sire if none be near,
In company she calls up many a tear.
True mourners would not have their sorrows known,
For grief of heart will choose to weep alone.

[Amissum non flet cum sola est Gellia patrem,
Si quis adest, iussae prosiliunt lacrimae.
Non luget quisquis laudari, Gellia, quaerit,
Ille dolet vere, qui sine teste dolet.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 33 (1.33) (AD 85-86) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
    (Source)

"On Gellia." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Gellia ne'er mourns her father's loss,
When no one's by to see,
but yet her soon commanded tears
Flow in society:
To weep for praise is but a feigned moan;
He grieves most truly, that does grieve alone.
[tr. Fletcher (1656)]

When all alone, your tears withstand;
In company, can floods command.
Who mourns for fashion, bids us mark;
Who mourns indeed, mourns in the dark.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]

Gellia alone, alas! can never weep,
Though her fond father perish'd in the deep;
With company the tempest all appears
And beauteous Gellia's e'en dissolved in tears.
Through public grief though Gellia aims at praise,
'Tis private sorrow which must merit raise.
[Gentleman's Magazine (1736)]

Her father dead! -- Alone no grief she knows;
Th' obedient tear at every visit flows.
No mourner he, who must with praise be fee'd!
But he, who mourns in secret, mourns indeed.
[tr. Hay (1755), 1.34]

Sire-reft, alone, poor Gellia weeps no woe:
In company she bids the torrent flow.
they cannot grieve, who to be seen, can cry:
Theirs is the grief, who without witness sigh.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 6, Part 3, ep. 1]

Gellia, when she is alone, does not lament the loss of her father. If any one be present, her bidden tears gush forth. A person does not grieve who seeks for praise; his is real sorrow who grieves without a witness.
[tr. Amos (1858), #95 "Feigned Tears"]

Gellia does not mourn for her deceased father, when she is alone; but if any one is present, obedient tears spring forth. He mourns not, Gellia, who seeks to be praised; he is the true mourner, who mourns without a witness.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

He grieves not much who grieves to merit praise;
His grief is real who grieves in solitude.
[ed. Harbottle (1897)]

Gellia weeps not while she is alone for her lost father; is any one be present, her tears leap forth at her bidding. He does not lament who looks, Gellia for praise;' he truly sorrows who sorrows unseen.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Gellia, alone, ne'er weeps her sire at all;
In company the bidden tears down fall.
True grief is not for admiration shown.
He only weeps indeed, who weeps alone.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #18, 1.32]

When alone, Gellia never cries for the father she lost.
If someone is with her, tears well up in her eyes,
as if ordered to fall in. If some one looks for praise,
he is not in mourning, Gellia.
He truly mourns
who mourns
alone.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

In private she mourns not the late-lamented;
If someone's by her tears leap forth on call.
Sorry, my dear, is not so easily rented.
They are true tears that without witness fall.
[tr. Cunningham (1971)]

Gellia does not cry for her lost father when she's by herself, but if she has company, out spring the tears to order. Gellia, whoever seeks credit for mourning is no mourner. He truly grieves who grieves without witnesses.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Gellia's mourning for her father?
If by herself she doesn't bother.
But when she sees that company lurks
She opens up the waterworks.
She just wants praise for grief that's shown;
They truly grieve who weep alone.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

When Janet is sequestered, out of view,
Then never for her father's death she cries.
But let some viewers come, just one or two,
Then tears dramatically flood her eyes.
We know from this how sad in fact she's been:
It is not grief that's only grieved when seen.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Gellia doesn't weep for her dead father
when she's alone, but tears pour on command
if someone comes. Who courts praise isn't mourning --
he truly grieves who grieves with none at hand.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

Alone, Gellia never weeps over her father's death;
if someone's there, her tears burst forth at will.
Mourning that looks for praise, Gellia, is not grief:
true sorrow grieves unseen.
[tr. Powell]

 
Added on 3-Mar-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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I was ashamed of myself when I realized life was a costume party, and I attended with my real face.

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) Czech-Austrian Jewish writer
(Attributed)

Widely attributed to Kafka, but a search has found no actual sourcing for the quotation. I consider it dubious.
 
Added on 3-Jan-23 | Last updated 17-Jul-23
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The difference between narcissism and self-love is a matter of depth. Narcissus falls in love not with the self, but with an image or reflection of the self — with the persona, the mask. The narcissist sees himself through the eyes of another, changes his lifestyle to conform with what is admired by others, tailors his behavior and expression of feelings to what will please others. Narcissism is eye trouble, voluntary blindness, an agreement to keep up appearances (hence the importance of “style”) and not to look beneath the surface.

Sam Keen
Sam Keen (b. 1931) American author, professor, philosopher
The Passionate Life, ch. 8 (1983)
    (Source)
 
Added on 11-Nov-22 | Last updated 11-Nov-22
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A man who parades his piety is one who, under an atheist king, would be an atheist.

[Un dévot est celui qui, sous un roi athée, serait athée.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 13 “Of the Fashion [De la Mode],” § 21 (13.21) (1688)
    (Source)

La Bruyère notes in the original this refers to a "faux dévot."

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

An Hypocrite is one that will be an Atheist under a King that is so.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

A Devote is one, that under a King who was an Atheist, would be a Devote.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

A Devoto is one, that under an atheistical King wouild be an Atheist.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

A pious person is one who, under an atheistical king, would be an atheist.
[tr. Van Laun (1885)]

A pious hypocrite is one who, under an atheistic king, would be an atheist.
[tr. Stewart (1970)]

 
Added on 8-Nov-22 | Last updated 6-Jun-23
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Good manners without sincerity are like a beautiful dead lady.

Yukiteswar
Sri Yukteswar Giri (1855-1936) Indian monk, yogi, guru [श्रीयुक्तेश्वर गिरि, b. Priya Nath Karar]
In Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi, ch. 12 (1946)
    (Source)
 
Added on 24-Oct-22 | Last updated 24-Oct-22
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We must realize that man’s nature will remain the same so long as he remains man; that civilization is but a slight coverlet beneath which the dominant beast sleeps lightly and ever ready to awake.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) American fabulist [Howard Phillips Lovecraft]
“At the Root,” The United Amateur (Jul 1918)
 
Added on 27-Jul-22 | Last updated 27-Jul-22
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Politics: a Trojan horse race.

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
More Unkempt Thoughts [Myśli nieuczesane nowe] (1964) [tr. Gałązka (1969)]
    (Source)
 
Added on 1-Mar-22 | Last updated 1-Mar-22
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Charming villains have always had a decided social advantage over well-meaning people who chew with their mouths open.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist, etiquette expert [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Common Courtesy (1996)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Aug-21 | Last updated 3-Aug-21
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Many perform the foulest deeds and rehearse the fairest words.

[Πολλοὶ δρῶντες τὰ αἴσχιστα λόγους ἀρίστους ἀσκέουσιν.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 53a (Diels) [tr. Barnes (1987)]
    (Source)

Diels citation "53a. (122 b N.) DEMOKRATES. 19.2. (Stob. II, 15, 33)" Bakewell lists this under "The Golden Sayings of Democritus." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter.

Alternate translations:

  • "Many who do the basest deeds can make most learned speeches." [tr. Bakewell (1907)]
  • "Many whose actions are most disgraceful practise the best utterances." [tr. Freeman (1948)].
  • "Many who do the worst things prepare the best speeches." [@sentantiq (2020), fr. 54]
 
Added on 9-Mar-21 | Last updated 9-Mar-21
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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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Wit is cultured insolence.

[ἡ γὰρ εὐτραπελία πεπαιδευμένη ὕβρις ἐστίν.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Rhetoric [Ῥητορική; Ars Rhetorica], Book 2, ch. 12, sec. 16 (2.12.16) / 1389b.11 (350 BC) [tr. Freese (1926)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

  • "Wit is a refined petulance." [Source (1847)]

  • "Facetiousness is chastened forwardness of manner." [tr. Buckley (1850)]

  • "Wit is educated insolence." [tr. Jebb (1873)]

  • "Wit being well-bred insolence." [tr. Roberts (1924)]

  • "Wittiness is educated insolence." [tr. Bartlett (2019)]

 
Added on 5-Mar-21 | Last updated 1-Feb-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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RESPECTABILITY, n. The social status of people whose sins haven’t quite caught up with them.

Edmund H. Volkart (1919-1992) American sociologist, researcher, editor
The Angel’s Dictionary: A Modern Tribute to Ambrose Bierce (1986)
 
Added on 28-Apr-20 | Last updated 28-Apr-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, aphorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Lobstir Sallad” (1874)
    (Source)
 
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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)
    (Source)
 
Added on 11-Feb-20 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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The world oftener rewards the appearances of merit than merit itself.

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammatist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims], #312 (1665-1678)
    (Source)
 
Added on 12-Nov-19 | Last updated 12-Nov-19
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The surface of American society is, if I may use the expression, covered with a layer of democracy, from beneath which the old aristocratic colors sometimes peep.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French writer, diplomat, politician
Democracy in America, ch. 2 (1835) [tr. Reeve (1899)]
    (Source)

    Alt. trans.:
  • As above, but given as "... sometimes seep."
  • "American society, if I may put it this way, is like a painting that is democratic on the surface but from time to time allows the old acistocratic colors to peep through." [tr. Goldhammer (2004)]
  • "The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colors breaking through."
 
Added on 12-Sep-18 | Last updated 3-Jul-23
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The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you but yourself.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Venus Envy, ch. 15 (1993)
    (Source)

Often paraphrased in the present tense: "The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself."
 
Added on 2-Apr-18 | Last updated 2-Apr-18
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There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1898 [ed. Paine (1935)]
 
Added on 21-Jul-17 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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The only people who can still strike us as normal are those we don’t yet know very well.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Course of Love, “Irreconcilable Desires” (2016)
    (Source)
 
Added on 20-Jul-17 | Last updated 20-Jul-17
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It had snowed in the night, and the world looked very clean, which I knew it not to be. But illusion is nice sometimes.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Painted Ladies, ch. 22 (2010)
    (Source)
 
Added on 12-Jul-17 | Last updated 12-Jul-17
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We’re animals. We’re born like every other mammal and we live our whole lives around disguised animal thoughts.

Barbara Kingsolver (b. 1955) American novelist, essayist, poet
Animal Dreams (1990)
 
Added on 10-Jul-17 | Last updated 10-Jul-17
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No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes; yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
Walden, “Economy” (1854)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-May-17 | Last updated 17-May-17
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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)
 
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Every man has three characters — that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.

Alphonse Karr
Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) French journalist and novelist
A Tour Round My Garden [Voyage autour de mon jardin] (1851)
    (Source)
 
Added on 25-Apr-17 | Last updated 2-May-17
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Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.

sunday-church-christian-garage-automobile-wist_info-quote

William Ashley "Billy" Sunday (1862-1935) American athlete, evangelist, preacher
In William T. Ellis, “Billy” Sunday, The Man and his Message, ch. 12 (1914)
 
Added on 14-Oct-16 | Last updated 14-Oct-16
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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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As with most things in life, Lady Maccon preferred the civilized exterior to the dark underbelly (with the exception of pork products, of course).

Gail Carriger (b. 1976) American archaeologist, author [pen name of Tofa Borregaard]
Heartless (2011)
 
Added on 15-Sep-16 | Last updated 15-Sep-16
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Are all men in disguise except those crying?

Abse - all men in disguise - wist_info quote

Daniel "Dannie" Abse (1923-2014) Welsh poet
“Encounter at a greyhound bus station” (1986)
 
Added on 19-Aug-16 | Last updated 19-Aug-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.
 
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We know so little about each other. We lie mostly submerged, like ice floes, with our visible social selves projecting only cool and white.

McEwan - cool and white - wist_info quote

Ian McEwan (b. 1948) English novelist and screenwriter
Amsterdam (1998)
 
Added on 26-Jul-16 | Last updated 26-Jul-16
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Since unhappiness excites interest, many, in order to render themselves interesting, feign unhappiness.

Joseph Roux
Joseph Roux (1834-1886) French Catholic priest
Meditations of a Parish Priest: Thoughts, ch. 5, #24 (1886)
    (Source)
 
Added on 2-May-16 | Last updated 2-May-16
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Many men and many women enjoy popular esteem, not because they are known, but because they are not.

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Attributed in Maturin M. Ballou, Notable Thoughts About Women, #3144 (1882).
 
Added on 27-Apr-16 | Last updated 27-Apr-16
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Always behave as if nothing had happened, no matter what has happened.

Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) English writer, novelist, journalist
Denry the Audacious, ch. 10 “His Infamy” (1911)
 
Added on 29-Mar-16 | Last updated 29-Mar-16
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The methods now being used to merchandise the political candidate as though he were a deodorant positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Brave New World Revisited (1958)
 
Added on 25-Mar-16 | Last updated 18-Mar-16
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I don’t mind hidden depths but I insist that there be a surface.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
LiveJournal post (17 Aug 2005)
    (Source)
 
Added on 22-Feb-16 | Last updated 22-Feb-16
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Be wiser than other people, if you can; but do not tell them so.

Chesterfield - be wiser - wist_info

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son, #104 (29 Nov 1745)
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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, aphorist
“A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity” (1725)
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Added on 11-Aug-15 | Last updated 11-Aug-15
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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 (The New Testament) (AD 1st - 2nd C) Christian sacred scripture
1 Peter 3:3-4 [NIV (2011)]
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Alternate translations:

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 (1611)]

Do not dress up for show: doing up your hair, wearing gold bracelets and fine clothes; all this should be inside, in a person’s heart, imperishable: the ornament of a sweet and gentle disposition -- this is what is precious in the sight of God.
[Jerusalem (1966)]

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.
[GNT (1976)]

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 (1989)]

 
Added on 24-Dec-14 | Last updated 5-Sep-23
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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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The wacky thing about those bad guys is that you can’t count on them to be obvious. They forget to wax their mustaches and goatees, leave their horns at home, send their black hats to the dry cleaners. They’re funny like that.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night (2007)
 
Added on 25-Nov-14 | Last updated 25-Nov-14
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If I try to be like him, who will be like me?

(Other Authors and Sources)
Yiddish proverb
 
Added on 21-Nov-14 | Last updated 21-Nov-14
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Never believe in a meritocracy in which no one is funny-looking.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden (b. 1956) American editor, writer, essayist
Making Light, “Commonplaces”
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Added on 25-Sep-14 | Last updated 25-Sep-14
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Whatever may be the success of my stories, I shall be resolute in preserving my incognito, having observed that a nom de plume secures all the advantages without the disagreeables of reputation.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Letter to William Blackwood (4 Feb 1857)
 
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Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, #189 (7 Jan 1752)
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MOROCCO: All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Merchant of Venice, Act 2, sc. 7, l. 73ff [Morocco] (1597)
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Usually modernized as "All that glitters is not gold."
 
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No one shows himself as he is, but wears his mask and plays his part. Indeed, the whole of our social arrangements may be likened to a perpetual comedy; and this is why a man who is worth anything finds society so insipid, while a blockhead is quite at home in it.

[Allerdings zeigt Keiner sich wie er ist, sondern Jeder trägt eine Maske und spielt eine Rolle. — Ueber­ haupt ist das ganze gesellschaftliche Leben ein fortwährendes Komödienspielen. Dies macht es gehaltvollen Leuten insipid; während Plattköpfe sich so recht darin gefallen.]

Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. 2, ch. 26 “Psychological Observations [Psychologische Bemerkungen],” § 315 (1851) [tr. Saunders (1890)]
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(Source (German)). Alternate translation:

It is quite certain that no one shows himself as he is, but that each wears a mask and plays a role. In general, the whole of social life is a continual comedy, which the worthy find insipid, whilst the stupid delight in it greatly.
[tr. Dircks (1897)]

No one reveals himself as he is; we all wear a mask and play a role.
[tr. Hollingdale (1970)]

It is certain that no one shows himself as he is, but everyone wears a mask and plays a part. Generally speaking, the whole of our social life is the continuous performance of a comedy. This renders it insipid for men of substances and merit, whereas blockheads take a real delight in it.
[tr. Payne (1974)]

 
Added on 25-Jul-14 | Last updated 29-Mar-23
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Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) English writer and social critic
Great Expectations, ch 40 (1861)
 
Added on 25-Apr-14 | Last updated 25-Apr-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.
 
Added on 14-Mar-14 | Last updated 16-Sep-21
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