Quotations about:
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All the higher animals have methods of expressing pleasure, but human beings alone express pleasure when they do not feel it. This is called politeness and is reckoned among the virtues.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“On smiling,” New York American (17 Aug 1932)
    (Source)
 
Added on 26-Jan-23 | Last updated 26-Jan-23
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More quotes by Russell, Bertrand

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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More quotes by La Bruyere, Jean de

Stories of our women leaving home to frisk
in mock ecstasies among the thickets on the mountain,
dancing in honor of the latest divinity,
a certain Dionysus, whoever he may be!
In their midst stand bowls brimming with wine.
And then, one by one, the women wander off
to hidden nooks where they serve the lusts of men.
Priestesses of Bacchus they claim they are,
but it’s really Aphrodite they adore.

[γυναῖκας ἡμῖν δώματ᾽ ἐκλελοιπέναι
πλασταῖσι βακχείαισιν, ἐν δὲ δασκίοις
ὄρεσι θοάζειν, τὸν νεωστὶ δαίμονα
Διόνυσον, ὅστις ἔστι, τιμώσας χοροῖς:
πλήρεις δὲ θιάσοις ἐν μέσοισιν ἑστάναι
κρατῆρας, ἄλλην δ᾽ ἄλλοσ᾽ εἰς ἐρημίαν
πτώσσουσαν εὐναῖς ἀρσένων ὑπηρετεῖν,
πρόφασιν μὲν ὡς δὴ μαινάδας θυοσκόους,
τὴν δ᾽ Ἀφροδίτην πρόσθ᾽ ἄγειν τοῦ Βακχίου.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 217ff [Pentheus/Πενθεύς] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

               Their homes
Our women have deserted, on pretence
That they in mystic orgies are engaged;
On the umbrageous hills they chant the praise
Of this new God, whoe'er he be, this Bacchus;
Him in their dances they revere, and place
Amid their ranks huge goblets fraught with wine:
Some fly to pathless deserts, where they meet
Their paramours, while they in outward shew
Are Mænedes by holy rites engrossed.
Yet Venus more than Bacchus they revere.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

The women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with dances this new deity Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that they each creep off different ways into secrecy to serve the beds of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping; but they consider Aphrodite before Bacchus.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

Our women all have left their homes, to join
These fabled mysteries. On the shadowy rocks
Frequent they sit, this God of yesterday,
Dionysus, whosoe'er he be, with revels
Dishonorable honoring. In the midst
Stand the crowned goblets; and each stealing forth,
This way and that, creeps to a lawless bed;
In pretext, holy sacrificing Mænads,
But serving Aphrodite more than Bacchus.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

Our women have deserted from their homes,
Pretending Bacchic rites, and now they lurk
In the shady hill-tops reverencing forsooth
This Dionysus, this new deity.
Full bowls of wine are served out to the throng;
And scattered here and there through the glades,
The wantons hurry to licentious love.
They call themselves the priestess Mænades;
Bacchus invoke, but Aphrodite serve.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 200ff]

I hear that our women-folk have left their homes on pretence of Bacchic rites, and on the wooded hills rush wildly to and fro, honouring in the dance this new god Dionysus, whoe’er he is; and in the midst of each revel-rout the brimming wine-bowl stands, and one by one they steal away to lonely spots to gratify their lust, pretending forsooth that they are Mænads bent on sacrifice, though it is Aphrodite they are placing before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

How from their homes our women have gone forth
Feigning a Bacchic rapture, and rove wild
O'er wooded hills, in dances honouring
Dionysus, this new God -- whoe'er he be. ⁠
And midst each revel-rout the wine-bowls stand
Brimmed: and to lonely nooks, some here, some there,
They steal, to work with men the deed of shame,
In pretext Maenad priestesses, forsooth,
But honouring Aphroditê more than Bacchus.
[tr. Way (1898)]

               Our own
Wives, our own sisters, from their hearths are flown
To wild and secret rites; and cluster there
High on the shadowy hills, with dance and prayer
To adore this new-made God, this Dionyse,
Whate'er he be! -- And in their companies
Deep wine-jars stand, and ever and anon
Away into the loneliness now one
Steals forth, and now a second, maid or dame,
Where love lies waiting, not of God! The flame,
They say, of Bacchios wraps them. Bacchios! Nay,
'Tis more to Aphrodite that they pray.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

That our women have abandoned their homes
in fake bacchic revels, and in the deep-shaded
mountains are roaming around, honoring with dances
the new-made god Dionysus, whoever he is;
that wine-bowls are set among the sacred companies
full to the brim, and that one by one the women go crouching
into the wilderness, to serve the lechery of men --
they profess to be maenads making sacrifice,
but actually they put Aphrodite before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

Our women, I discover, have abandoned their homes on some pretence of Bacchic worship, and go gadding about in the woods on the mountain side, dancing in honour of this upstart god Dionysus, whoever he may be. They tell me, in the midst of each group of revellers stands a bowl full of wine; and the women go creeping off this way and that to lonely places and there give themselves to lecherous men, under the excuse that they are Maenad priestesses; though in their ritual Aphrodite comes before Bacchus.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

They leave their home, desert their children
Follow the new fashion and join the Bacchae
Flee the hearth to mob the mountains -- those contain
Deep shadows of course, secret caves to hide
Lewd games for this new god -- Dionysos!
That's the holy spirit newly discovered.
Dionysos! Their ecstasy is flooded down
In brimming bowls of wine -- so much for piety!
Soused, with all the senses roused, they crawl
Into the bushes and there of course a man
Awaits them. All part of the service for for this
Mysterious deity. The hypocrisy? All they care about
Is getting serviced.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]

Our women gone, abandoning their homes,
pretending to be bacchae, massing
in the bushy mountains, this latest divinity
Dionysos (whoever he is) honouring and chorusing,
filling and setting amidst the thiasus
wine-bowls, and one by one in solitude
sneaking off to cater to male bidding, --
supposedly as sacrificial maenads,
but Aphrodite ranks before their Bacchic One.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

Our women, I am told, have left their homes,
in a religious trance -- what travesty! --
and scamper up and down the wooded mountains, dancing
in honor of this newfangled God, Dionysus,
whoever he might be.
In the middle of each female group
of revelers, I hear,
stands a jar of wine, brimming! And that taking turns,
they steal away, one here, one there, to shady nooks,
where they satisfy the lechery of men,
pretending to be priestesses,
performing their religious duties. Ha!
That performance reeks more of Aphrodite than of Bacchus.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

Our women have abandoned our homes
And, in a jacked-up frenzy of phony inspiration,
Riot in the dark mountains,
Honoring this upstart god, Dionysos --
Whatever he is -- dancing in his chorus.
Full jugs of wine stand in their midst
And each woman slinks off
To the wilderness to serve male lust,
Pretending they are praying priestesses,
But Aphrodite leads them, not Bacchus.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

Our women have abandoned their homes
for the sham revelries of Bacchus
frisking about on the dark-shadowed mountains
honoring with their dances the latest god, Dionysius, whoever he is.
They've set up their mixing bowls brimming with wine
amidst their cult gatherings, and each lady slinks off in a different direction
to some secluded wilderness to service the lusts of men.
They pretend to be maenads performing sacrifices
but in reality they rank Aphrodite's pleasures before Bacchus!
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

These women of ours have left their homes
and run away to the dark mountains, pretending
to be Bacchants. It's this brand-new god,
Dionysus, whoever that is; they're dancing for him!
They gather in throngs around full bowls
of wine; then one by one they sneak away
to lonely places where they sleep with men.
Priestesses they call themselves! Maenads!
It's Aphrodite they put first, not Bacchus.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

               Women leave
Our houses for bogus revels (“Bakkhic” indeed!),
Dashing through the dark shade of mountain forests
To honor with their dancing this new god,
Dionysos -- whoever he may be --
And right in their midst they set full bowls of wine,
And slink into the thickets to meet men there,
Saying they are maenads sacrificing
When they really rank Aphrodite first,
Over Bakkhos!
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

The women have left our homes in fictitious ecstatic rites and flit about on the thick-shaded mountains, honoring the new god Dionysus, whoever he is, with their dancing. They set up full wine bowls in the middle of their assembles and sneak off, one here, one there, to tryst in private with men. The pretext for all of this is that they are maenads, performing their rites, but they hold Aphrodite in higher regard than the bacchic god.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

I hear our women have flown from their proper place in the home -- dancing about in the shadowy hills in sham ecstasy for this newfound Dionysus! And these wine-befuddled women slink into the darkness, drawn by the sirens of lust. Fine high priestesses of the new god! They seem to make more worship of Aphrodite than of Bacchus!
[tr. Rao/Wolf (2004)]

I heard that our women have left their homes and gone off to the mountains dancing the Bacchic dances! Some new, young god! Utter rubbish! There they are, placing great tubs full of wine in the centre of their group, in the middle of nowhere and off they go, one here, another there, rolling around with any man they come across and giving the excuse that they are maenads; but what are they doing? Serving Dionysos? No way! They’re serving Aphrodite!
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

The women have left us, abandoning their homes in
phony Bacchic worship and that they gad about on
the bushy mountaintops; that this "new" god Dio-
nysus, whoever he really is, is honoured in their dances,
and that they set the sacred wine-bowls, fill'd, in the
midst of the thiasoi, each slinking off her sep'rate
way to serve males' hot lust in the woods, pre-
tending to be Maenads sacrificing; and so
they place Aphrodite on top of Bacchus.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

               ... women leaving home
to go to silly Bacchic rituals,
cavorting there in mountain shadows,
with dances honoring some upstart god,
this Dionysus, whoever he may be. Mixing bowls
in the middle of their meetings filled with wine,
they creep off one by one to lonsely spots
to have sex with men, claiming they're Maenads
busy worshipping. But they rank Aphrodite,
goddess of sexual desire, ahead of Bacchus.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 272ff]

Women have deserted their homes for these
fraudulent rites -- up in the woods and mountains,
dancing to celebrate some new god --
Dionysus, whoever he is.
Drink is at the bottom of it all.
Huge bowls stand in their midst, I'm told,
brimming with wine, and one by one the women
slip into the shadows to satisfy the lusts of men.
They say they are priestesses, sworn to Bacchus,
but it's clearly Aphrodite they adore.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

     Women have forsaken their homes. It’s a front, it’s a fake, a false Bacchic rite, an excuse for them to cavort in the mountain’s shade, dancing to honor this "new god" Dionysus.
     Whoever that is. Whoever he really is.
     I hear they’ve got casks of wine up there, full to the brim, just sitting there in the midst of their frolicking. And that they sneak off into secluded corners, servicing men, excusing it as a sacred thing, a Maenad’s ritual.
     If it is a ritual, it’s to Aphrodite, not this Bacchus of theirs.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

How our women
had run off
to celebrate
perferse rites
     in the mountains,
roaming about with this
brand new god, Dionysus --
     whoever he is.
Everywhere
     in the midst of their revels
          stand full wine bowls.
And women slink off
one by one
to copulate
with any man
     who happens by.
They pretend to be Maenads, priestesses.
It's Aphrodite,
not Bacchus,
     they worship.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

Our women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with khoroi this new daimōn Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that each woman, flying to secrecy in different directions, yields to the embraces of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping. They consider Aphrodite of greater priority than Dionysus.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 24-Jan-23 | Last updated 24-Jan-23
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More quotes by Euripides

You may force men, by interest or punishment, to say or swear they believe, and to act as if they believed; you can go no farther.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Religion” (1726)
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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 cited to Kafka, but a search has found no actual sourcing for the quotation. I consider it dubious.
 
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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)
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But of all injustice, theirs is certainly of the deepest die, who make it their business to appear honest men, even whilst they are practising the greatest of villainies.

[Totius autem iniustitiae nulla capitalior quam eorum, qui tum, cum maxime fallunt, id agunt, ut viri boni esse videantur.]

Cicero - injustice deepest die appear honest men practising the greatest of villainies - wist.info quote

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 13 (1.13) / sec. 41 (44 BC) [tr. Cockman (1699)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

No act of injustice is more pernicious than theirs, who while they are attempting the greatest deceit, labor to appear good men.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

But in the whole system of villainy, none is more capital than that of the men, who, when they most deceive, so manage as that they may seem to be virtuous men.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

But of all forms of injustice, none is more heinous than that of the men who, while they practise fraud to the utmost of their ability, do it in such a way that they appear to be good men.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

The most criminal injustice is that of the hypocrite who hides an act of treachery under the cloak of virtue.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

No iniquity is more deadly than that of those who, when they are most at fault, so behave as to seem men of integrity.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

But of all forms of injustice, none is more flagrant than that of the hypocrite who, at the very moment when he is most false, makes it his business to appear virtuous.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

Taking all forms of injustice into account, none is more deadly than that practiced by people who act as if they are good men when they are being most treacherous.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

 
Added on 11-Aug-22 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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The rich know anger helps the cost of living:
Hating’s more economical than giving.

[Genus, Aucte, lucri divites habent iram:
Odisse, quam donare, vilius constat.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 13 (12.13) [tr. Michie (1972)]
    (Source)

"To Auctus." Closely parallel to 3.37, to the point where some translations are cross-applied in error. The general interpretation, from Ker, is that "picking quarrels with clients saves you giving them presents."

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Anger's a kind of gain that rich men know:
It costs them less to hate than to bestow.
[tr. Fletcher (1656)]

Rich men, my friend, by anger know to thrive.
'Tis cheaper much to quarrel, than to give.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

From ire can gainmongers elicit ore.
Fell hate is frugal: love might lavish more.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), 12.68]

Ask you, last night, why Gripus ill behaved?
A well-timed quarrel is a dinner saved.
[tr. Halhead (1793)]

The rich, Auctus, make a species of gain out of anger.
It is cheaper to get into a passion than to give.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Rich men, Auctus, regard anger as a kind of profit;
to hate is cheaper than to give!
[tr. Ker (1919)]

The rich feign wrath -- a profitable plan;
'Tis cheaper far to hate than help a man.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Rich men, Auctus, think of anger as a sort of moneymaking:
hating comes cheaper than giving.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

The rich pick fights and cause unpleasance:
Hate is cheaper than giving presents.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

The rich believe it pays to get irate --
to give is costlier, Auctus, than to hate.
[tr. McLean (2014)]
 
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The beautiful thing about losing your illusions, he thought, was that you got to stop pretending.

Daniel Abraham
Daniel Abraham (b. 1969) American writer [pseud. James S. A. Corey (with Ty Franck), M. L. N. Hanover]
Leviathan Wakes, ch. 18 (2011) [with Ty Franck]
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Unlike a human smile, purring cannot be, as far as anyone knows, faked.

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (b. 1941) American author
The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats, ch. 3 (2002)
    (Source)
 
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I don’t have much truck with the “religion is the cause of most of our wars” school of thought because that is manifestly done by mad, manipulative and power-hungry men who cloak their ambition in God.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
“I create gods all the time — now I think one might exist,” Daily Mail (21 Jun 2008)
    (Source)
 
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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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We do what we must, and call it by the best names we can, and would fain have the praise of having intended the result which ensues.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Experience,” Essays: Second Series (1844)
    (Source)
 
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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)
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It is just those books which a man possesses, but does not read, which constitute the most suspicious evidence against him.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
Toilers of the Sea, Book 1, ch. 4 (1866)
 
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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)
 
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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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All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major (1916)
 
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To act with common sense according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know; and the best philosophy, to do one’s duties, take the world as it comes, submit respectfully to one’s lot; bless the Goodness that has given so much happiness with it, whatever it is; and despise affectation.

Horace Walpole (1717-1797) English novelist, letter writer
Letter to Horace Mann (27 May 1776)
 
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It must be a good thing to be good or ivrybody wudden’t be pretendin’ he was.

[It must be a good thing to be good, or everybody wouldn’t be pretending he was.]

Dunne - pretending to be good - wist_info

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
Observations by Mr. Dooley, “Hypocrisy” (1902)
 
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Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
 
Added on 21-Oct-15 | Last updated 21-Oct-15
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Pedantry is properly the over-rating of any kind of knowledge we pretend to.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding (1754)
 
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Man is the only animal that learns by being hypocritical. He pretends to be polite and then, eventually, he becomes polite.

Jean Kerr (1922-2003) American author and playwright [b. Bridget Jean Collins]
Finishing Touches, Act 1 (1973)
 
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Many talk like Philosophers, and live like Fools.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #3358 (1732)
    (Source)
 
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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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When capable, feign incapacity; when active, inactivity.

Sun-Tzu (fl. 6th C. AD) Chinese general and philosopher [a.k.a. Sun Wu]
The Art of War, “Estimates” (18) [tr. Griffith (1963)]
 
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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)
    (Source)
 
Added on 4-Jan-13 | Last updated 6-Jul-17
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Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Nature in Men,” Essays, No. 38 (1625)
    (Source)
 
Added on 17-Nov-11 | Last updated 25-Mar-22
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Do not keep on with a mockery of friendship after the substance is gone — but part, while you can part friends. Bury the carcass of friendship: it is not worth embalming.

Hazlitt - mockery of friendship - wist_info quote

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On The Conduct of Life” (1822)
    (Source)
 
Added on 9-Feb-10 | Last updated 19-Jan-16
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The chief difference between free capitalism and State socialism seems to be this: that under the former a man pursues his own advantage openly, frankly, and honestly, whereas under the latter he does so hypocritically and under false pretences.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
Minority Report: H.L. Mencken’s Notebooks, #397 (1956)
 
Added on 15-Jan-09 | Last updated 2-May-16
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Book lovers are thought by unbookish people to be gentle and unworldly, and perhaps a few of them are so. But there are others who will lie and scheme and steal to get books as wildly and unconscionably as the dope-taker in pursuit of his drug. They may not want the books to read immediately, or at all; they want them to possess, to range on their shelves, to have at command. They want books as a Turk is thought to want concubines — not to be hastily deflowered, but to be kept at their master’s call, and enjoyed more often in thought than in reality.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
Tempest-Tost, ch. 6 (1951)
 
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It’s a sign of considerable shrewdness to be able to make others think one is not exceptionally shrewd.

[C’est avoir fait un grand pas dans la finesse, que de faire penser de soi que l’on n’est que médiocrement fin.]

Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 8 “Of the Court [De la cour],” § 85 (8.85) (1688) [tr. Stewart (1970)]

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

He is far gone in politicks, who begins to find he is but indifferently politick.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

He is far gone in Cunning, who makes other People believe he is but indifferently Cunning.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

He is thorough-paced in Cunning, who makes others believe that he is no Conjurer.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

A man must be very shrewd to make other people believe that he is not so sharp after all.
[tr. Van Laun (1885)]

A man has made great progress in cunning when he does not seem too clever to others.
[Common Translation, e.g.]

 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Jan-23
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A man always has two reasons for what he does — a good one, and the real one.

John Pierpont "J. P." Morgan (1837-1913) American banker and financier
(Attributed)

Quoted in Owen Wister, Roosevelt: The Story of a Friendship, p. 280 (1930). There's no record in Morgan's writings, and versions of the quote from others can be found in the early 1800s. See here for more details.

Sometimes given as "A man generally has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good, and a real one."
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Apr-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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