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    sensibility


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There be some that will grant you precedence in good luck or good temper but none in good sense, least of all a prince; for good sense is a royal prerogative, any claim to that is a case of lèse-majesté.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 7 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation:

Most people do not mind being surpassed in good fortune, character, or temperament, but no one, especially not a sovereign, likes to be surpassed in intelligence. For this is the king of attributes, and any crime against it is lèse-majesté.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]
 
Added on 15-Nov-21 | Last updated 4-Apr-22
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More quotes by Gracián, Baltasar

Poetry demands a man with special gift for it, or else one with a touch of madness in him; the former can easily assume the required mood, and the latter may be actually beside himself with emotion.

[διὸ εὐφυοῦς ἡ ποιητική ἐστιν ἢ μανικοῦ: τούτων γὰρ οἱ μὲν εὔπλαστοι οἱ δὲ ἐκστατικοί εἰσιν.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics [Περὶ ποιητικῆς, De Poetica], ch. 17 / 1455a.33 (c. 335 BC) [tr. Bywater (1909)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Fyfe (below) notes μανικός to mean "genius to madness near allied," and adds "Plato held that the only excuse for a poet was that he couldn't help it." A possible source of Seneca's "touch of madness" attribution to Aristotle. Alternate translations:

Poetry implies either a happy gift of nature or a strain of madness. In the one case a man can take the mould of any character; in the other, he is lifted out of his proper self.
[tr. Butcher (1895)]

Poetry is the work for the finely constituted or the hysterical; for the hysterical are impressionable, whereas the finely constituted are liable to outbursts.
[tr. Margoliouth (1911); whiles this seems backward, Margoliouth further explains in his footnote.]

Poetry needs either a sympathetic nature or a madman, the former being impressionable and the latter inspired.
[tr. Fyfe (1932)]

Hence the poetic art belongs either to a naturally gifted person or an insane one, since those of the former sort are easily adaptable and the latter are out of their senses.
[tr. Sachs (2006)]

In order to write tragic poetry, you must be either a genius who can adapt himself to anything, or a madman who lets himself get carried away.
[tr. Kenny (2013)]

 
Added on 14-Feb-11 | Last updated 10-May-21
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More quotes by Aristotle

Good sense is of all things in the world the most equally distributed, for everybody thinks he is so well supplied with it, that even those most difficult to please in all other matters never desire more of it than they already possess.

[Le bon sens est la chose du monde la mieux partagée; car chacun pense en être si bien pourvu, que ceux même qui sont les plus difficiles à contenter en toute autre chose n’ont point coutume d’en désirer plus qu’ils en ont.]

René Descartes (1596-1650) French philosopher, mathematician
Discourse on Method [Discours de la méthode], Part 1, Opening Words (1637) [tr. Haldane & Ross (1911)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Right understanding is the most equally divided thing in the World; for every one beleevs himself so well stor’d with it, that even those who in all other things are the hardest to be pleas’d, seldom desire more of it then they have.
[Newcombe ed. (1649)]

Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for every one thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.
[tr. Veitch (1850)]

Good sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world; for everyone thinks himself so well supplied with it, that even those who are hardest ot satisfy in every other way do not usually desire more of it than they already have.
[tr. Ascombe & Geach (1971)]

Good sense is the best distributed thing in the world: for everyone thinks himself so well endowed with it that even those who are hardest to please in everything else do not usually desire more of it than they possess.
[tr. Cottingham, Stoothoff (1985), sec. 1]

Common sense is the best distributed commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it.
[Oxford Reference]

Of all things, good sense is the most fairly distributed: everyone thinks he is so well supplied with it that even those who are the hardest to satisfy in every other respect never desire more of it than they already have.

Nothing is more fairly distributed than common sense: no one thinks he needs more of it than he already has.

 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-Feb-22
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