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A plain appearance is to ordinary men their proper garb: it suits them and fits them, but it adorns those persons whose lives have been distinguished by grand deeds; I compare them to a beauty who is most charming in négligé.

[Un extérieur simple est l’habit des hommes vulgaires, il est taillé pour eux et sur leur mesure; mais c’est une parure pour ceux qui ont rempli leur vie de grandes actions: je les compare à une beauté négligée, mais plus piquante.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 2 “Of Personal Merit [Du Mérite Personnel],” § 17 (2.17) (1688) [tr. Van Laun (1885)]

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

That Simplicity of outward Appearance, which in vulgar Men seems to be their proper Clothes, shap'd and fitted to their Size, is the ornamental Habit of those Persons whose Lives have been full of great Actions. I compare 'em to a Beauty, that is more charming for being negligent.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

A plain Exterior is to ordinary Men their proper Garb, shaped and fitted to their Size, but is an ornamental Habit in those Persons whose Lives have been distinguished by signal Actions. I compare them to a Beauty, most charming when à la negligé.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

Outward simplicity befits ordinary men, like a garment made to measure for them; but it serves as an adornment to those who have filled their lives with great deeds: they might be compared to some beauty carelessly dressed and thereby all the more attractive.
[tr. Stewart (1970)]

Added on 28-Nov-23 | Last updated 28-Nov-23
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Dignity of character ought to be graced by a house; but from a house it is not wholly derived. A master is not to be honored by a house; but a house by its master.

[Ornanda enim est dignitas domo, non ex domo tota quaerenda, nec domo dominus, sed domino domus honestanda est.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 39 (1.39) / sec. 139 (44 BC) [tr. McCartney (1798)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

It is well if a man can enhance that credit and reputation he has gotten by the splendour of his house; but he must not depend on his house alone for it; for the master ought to bring honour to his fine seat, and not the fine seat bring honour to its master.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

For dignity should be adorned by a palace, but not be wholly sought from it: -- the house ought to be ennobled by the master, and not the master by the house.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

In truth, high standing in the community should be adorned by a house, not sought wholly from a house; nor should the owner be honored by the house, but the house by the owner.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

The house should not constitute, though it may enhance, the dignity of the master; let the master honour the house, not the house the master.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

Your house may add lustre to your dignity, but it will not suffice that you should derive all your dignity from your house: the master should ennoble the house, not the house the master.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

The truth is, a man's dignity may be enhanced by the house he lives in, but not wholly secured by it; the owner should bring honour to his house, not the house to its owner.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

A house may enhance a man's dignity, but it should not be the only source of dignity; the house should not glorify its owner, but he should enhance it.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

Added on 21-Apr-22 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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