François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld Quotes

François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, 1613 – 1680

Born: 15 September 1613, Paris, France
Died: 17 March 1680, Paris, France

From a noble family, François had little or no formal schooling but was trained in Latin, mathematics, fencing, dancing, heraldry, and etiquette. He took arms early, possibly in his tenth year, and was in command of a regiment at age fifteen. Noted for bravery in battle but ill-advised politics, he took issue with various powerful persons, notably Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, which meant he was banished on several occasions and made his home in the Bastille briefly. Later in life he joined a salon in which the goal was to carefully hone observations on human character in one sentence. He turned out to be both prolific and skilled in this, and in his retirement collected several hundred Maximes which were published and sold well in his life.

François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld quotes:

A great many men’s gratitude is nothing but a secret desire to hook in more valuable kindnesses hereafter.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A man convinced of his own merit will accept misfortune as an honor, for thus can he persuade others, as well as himself, that he is a worthy target for the arrows of fate.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A man is sometimes as different from himself as he is from others.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A man may be sharper than another, but not than all others.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A man who finds no satisfaction in himself, seeks for it in vain elsewhere.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A man’s worth has its season, like fruit.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A shrewd man has to arrange his interests in order of importance and deal with them one by one; but often our greed upsets this order and makes us run after so many things at once that through over-anxiety to obtain the trivial, we miss the most important.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A wise man thinks it more advantageous not to join the battle than to win.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A woman often thinks she regrets the lover, when she only regrets the love.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Absence abates a moderate passion and intensifies a great one – as the wind blows out a candle but fans fire into flame.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld – Maxims and Moral Reflections (1791)

Ah, Hope! what would life be, stripped of thy encouraging smiles, that teach us to look behind the dark clouds of to-day, for the golden beams that are to gild the morrow.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

All the passions make us commit faults; love makes us commit the most ridiculous ones.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

All women are flirts, but some are restrained by shyness, and others by sense.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Almost all our faults are more pardonable than the methods we resort to to hide them.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

All women are flirts, but some are restrained by shyness, and others by sense.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Almost all our faults are more pardonable than the methods we resort to to hide them.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

As great minds have the faculty of saying a great deal in a few words, so lesser minds have a talent of talking much, and saying nothing.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

As love increases prudence diminishes.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

As one grows older, one becomes wiser and more foolish.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Before we set our hearts too much on anything, let us examine how happy are those who already possess it.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Behind many acts that are thought ridiculous there lie wise and weighty motives.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Being a blockhead is sometimes the best security against being cheated by a man of wit.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Complete courage and absolute cowardice are extremes that very few men fall into. The vast middle space contains all the intermediate kinds and degrees of courage; and these differ as much from one another as men’s faces or their humors do.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld – Maximes (1665)

Conceit causes more conversation than wit.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Confidence contributes more to conversation than wit.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Consolation for unhappiness can often be found in a certain satisfaction we get from looking unhappy.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Decency is the least of all laws, but yet it is the law which is most strictly observed.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Eloquence lies as much in the tone of the voice, in the eyes, and in the speaker’s manner, as in his choice of words.
    François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld – Maximes (1665)

Coquettes are the quacks of love.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Decency is the least of all laws, but yet it is the law which is most strictly observed.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Eloquence lies as much in the tone of the voice, in the eyes, and in the speaker’s manner, as in his choice of words.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Every one speaks well of his heart, but no one dares to speak well of his mind.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Everyone complains of the badness of his memory, but nobody of his judgment.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Everyone speaks well of his own heart, but no one dares speak well of his own mind.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Few people have the wisdom to prefer the criticism that would do them good, to the praise that deceives them.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Few things are impracticable in themselves; and it is for want of application, rather than of means, that men fail to succeed.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Few things are needful to make the wise man happy, but nothing satisfies the fool; – and this is the reason why so many of mankind are miserable.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Flattery is a counterfeit money which, but for vanity, would have no circulation.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Fortune and caprice govern the world.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Friendship is only a reciprocal conciliation of interests, and an exchange of good offices; it is a species of commerce out of which self love always expects to gain something.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Funeral pomp is more for the vanity of the living than for the honor of the dead.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Gracefulness is to the body what understanding is to the mind.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Gravity is a stratagem invented to conceal the poverty of the mind.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Great names abase, instead of elevating, those who do not know how to bear them.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Great souls are not those who have fewer passions and more virtues than others, but only those who have greater designs.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
He is not to pass for a man of reason who stumbles upon reason by chance but he who knows it and can judge it and has a true taste for it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
He who imagines he can do without the world deceives himself much; but he who fancies the world cannot do without him is still more mistaken.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maxims and Moral Reflections (1791)
He who is never guilty of follies is not so wise as he imagines.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
He who lives without folly isn’t so wise as he thinks.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
He who refuses praise the first time that it is offered does so because he would hear it a second time.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
He who thinks he can do without the world deceives himself; but he who thinks that the world can not do without him is still more in error.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Heat of blood makes young people change their inclinations often, and habit makes old ones keep to theirs a great while.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Hope and fear are inseparable. There is no hope without fear, nor any fear without hope.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Hope, deceitful as it is, carries us agreeably through life.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Hope, deceiving as it is, serves at least to lead us to the end of our lives by an agreeable route.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)

How can we expect another to keep our secret, if we cannot keep it ourself?

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
How can we expect another to keep our secret if we have been unable to keep it ourselves?

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
How can we expect another to keep our secret, when it is more than we can do ourselves?

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
How is it that we remember the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not remember how often we have recounted it to the same person?

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
However glorious an action in itself, it ought not to pass for great if it be not the effect of wisdom and intention.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
However greatly we distrust the sincerity of those we converse with, yet still we think they tell more truth to us than to anyone else.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
However rare true love may be, it is less so than true friendship.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Humility is often only a feigned submissiveness by which men hope to bring other people to submit to them; it is a more calculated sort of pride.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Humility is the true proof of Christian virtues; without it we retain all our faults, and they are only covered by pride to hide them from others, and often from ourselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
I have always been an admirer. I regard the gift of admiration as indispensable if one is to amount to something; I don’t know where I would be without it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Idiots and lunatics see only their own wit.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
If it were not for the company of fools, a witty man would often be greatly at a loss.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
If there be a love pure and free from the admixture of our other passions, it is that which lies hidden in the bottom of our heart, and which we know not ourselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
If we are to judge of love by the consequences, it more nearly resembles hatred than friendship.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)

If we did not flatter ourselves, the flattery of others could never harm us.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
If we had no defects, we should not take so much pleasure in discovering those of others.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
If we had no faults of our own, we should not take so much pleasure in noticing those in others.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
If we have not peace within ourselves, it is in vain to seek it from outward sources.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
If we judge of love by its usual effects, it resembles hatred more than friendship.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
If we resist our passions, it is more from their weakness than from our strength.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
If you cannot find peace in yourself, it is useless to look for it elsewhere.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
In friendship as well as love, ignorance very often contributes more to our happiness than knowledge.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
In jealousy there is usually more self-love than love.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
In love we often doubt what we most believe.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
In the human heart new passions are forever being born; the overthrow of one almost always means the rise of another.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
In the misfortunes of our best friends we always find something not altogether displeasing to us.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
In their early passions women are in love with the lover, later they are in love with love.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Inconstancy is sometimes due to levity of mind, but oftener to satiety.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Innocence does not find near so much protection as guilt.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

It appears that nature has hid at the bottom of our hearts talents and abilities unknown to us. It is only the passions that have the power of bringing them to light, and sometimes give us views more true and more perfect than art could possibly do.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is a great act of cleverness to be able to conceal one’s being clever.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is almost always a fault of one who loves not to realize when he ceases to be loved.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is easier to appear worthy of a position one does not hold, than of the office which one fills.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is easier to know men in general, than men in particular.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is great folly to wish to be wise all alone.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is harder to hide the feelings we have than to feign the ones we do not have.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is more shameful to distrust one’s friends than to be deceived by them.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is much easier to suppress a first desire than to satisfy those that follow.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is not always for virtue’s sake that women are virtuous.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
It is not enough to have great qualities; We should also have the management of them.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is not in the power of even the most crafty dissimulation to conceal love long, where it really is, nor to counterfeit it long where it is not.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is not so dangerous to do wrong to most men, as to do them too much good.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is often laziness and timidity that keep us within our duty while virtue gets all the credit.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

It is our own vanity that makes the vanity of others intolerable to us.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is the habit of mediocre minds to condemn all that is beyond their grasp.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is useless to have youth without beauty, or beauty without youth.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
It is with an old love as it is with old age, a man lives to all the miseries but is dead to all the pleasures.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It is with true love as it is with ghosts; everyone talks about it, but few have seen it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It takes nearly as much ability to know how to profit by good advice as to know how to act for one’s self.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
It’s no good trying to keep up old friendships. It’s painful for both sides. The fact is, one grows out of people, and the only thing is to face it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Jealousy contains more of self-love than of love.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Jealousy feeds upon suspicion, and it turns into fury or it ends as soon as we pass from suspicion to certainty.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Jealousy is always born with love, but does not die with it. In jealousy there is more of self-love than of love to another.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Jealousy is bred in doubts. When those doubts change into certainties, then the passion either ceases or turns to absolute madness.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Little minds are vexed with trifles.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Love can no more continue without a constant motion than fire can; and when once you take hope and fear away, you take from it its very life and being.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Love is the offspring of chance: its nurse is habit.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Love often leads one to ambition, but seldom does one return from ambition to love.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Love, like fire, cannot subsist without constant impulse; it ceases to live from the moment it ceases to hope or to fear.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Loyalty is in most people only a ruse used by self-interest to attract confidence.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Many men are contemptuous of riches; few can give them away.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Many wish to be pious, but none to be humble.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Mediocre minds usually condemn what is beyond the reach of their understanding.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Men give away nothing so liberally as their advice.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Moderation is the feebleness and sloth of the soul, whereas ambition is the warmth and activity of it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Most of our faults are more pardonable than the means we use to conceal them.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Most people know no other way of judging men’s worth but by the vogue they are in, or the fortunes they have met with.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Most women do not grieve so much for the death of their lovers for love’s-sake, as to show they were worthy of being beloved.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Nature creates ability; luck provides it with opportunity.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Nature makes fools; women make coxcombs.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Nature seems at each man’s birth to have marked out the bounds of his virtues and vices, and to have determined how good or how wicked that man shall be capable of being.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Neither the sun nor death can be looked at with a steady eye.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Never give anyone the advice to buy or sell shares, because the most benevolent piece of advice can turn out badly.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Never was any considerable good or evil done without producing its like. We imitate good actions through emulation; and bad ones through the evil of our nature, which shame conceals, but example sets at liberty.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
No man deserves to be praised for his goodness unless he has the strength of character to be wicked. All other goodness is generally nothing but indolence or impotence of will.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
No man deserves to be praised for his goodness, who has it not in his power to be wicked. Goodness without that power is generally nothing more than sloth, or an impotence of will.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
No men are oftener wrong than those that can least bear to be so.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
None deserve the name of good who have not spirit enough to be bad. Goodness, for the most part, is but indolence, or impotence.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
None laugh better, and oftener, than women with fine teeth.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Not all those who know their minds know their hearts as well.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Nothing hinders a thing from being natural so much as the straining ourselves to make it seem so.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Nothing is given so profusely as advice.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will we should always have sufficient means. It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Nothing is so contagious as example; and we never do any great good or evil which does not produce its like.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Nothing is so contagious as example.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Nothing makes old people who have been attractive more ridiculous than to forget that they are so no longer.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)

Nothing so much prevents our being natural as the desire to seem so.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Old age is a tyrant, who forbids, under pain of death, the pleasures of youth.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Old men are fond of giving good advice to console themselves for their inability to give bad examples.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
On neither the sun, nor death, can a man look fixedly.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
One can find women who have never had one love affair, but it is rare indeed to find any who have had only one.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
One forgives to the degree that one loves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
One is never as fortunate or as unfortunate as one thinks.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
One often passes from love to ambition, but one rarely returns from ambition to love.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
One should treat one’s fate as one does one’s health; enjoy it when it is good, be patient with it when it is poor, and never attempt any drastic cure save as an ultimate resort.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Only the contemptible fear contempt.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Our actions seem to have their lucky and unlucky stars, to which a great part of that blame and that commendation is due which is given to the actions themselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Our aversion to lying is commonly a secret ambition to make what we say considerable, and have every word received with a religious respect.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Our concern for the loss of our friends is not always from a sense of their worth, but rather of our own need of them and that we have lost some who had a good opinion of us.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Our enemies come nearer the truth in the opinions they form of us than we do in our opinion of ourselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Our virtues are often but vices in disguise.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)

Our virtues are often, in reality, no better than vices disguised.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Passion often makes fools of the ablest, and lends ability to the most foolish.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Penetration has a spice of divination in it which tickles our vanity more than any other quality of the mind.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
People’s personalities, like buildings, have various facades, some pleasant to view, some not.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Perfect behavior is born of complete indifference.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Perfect courage is to do without witnesses what one would be capable of doing with the world looking on.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Perfect valor is to behave, without witnesses, as one would act were all the world watching.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms inside your head, and people in them, acting. People you know, yet can’t quite name.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Philosophy finds it an easy matter to vanquish past and future evils, but the present are commonly too hard for it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Philosophy triumphs easily over evils past and evils to come; but, present evils triumph over philosophy.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Plenty of people want to be pious, but no one yearns to be humble.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Politeness is a desire to be treated politely, and to be esteemed polite oneself.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Preserving your health by too strict a diet is a tedious illness.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Pride does not wish to owe and vanity does not wish to pay.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Pride, which inspires us with so much envy, is sometimes of use toward the moderating of it too.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Quarrels would not last long if the fault were only on one side.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Refusal of praise reveals a desire to be praised twice over.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Repentance is not so much remorse for what we have done, as the fear of consequences.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Ridicule dishonors more than dishonor.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Self-interest makes some people blind, and others sharp-sighted.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Self-love is the greatest of all flatterers.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Silence is the safest course for any man to adopt who distrusts himself.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Sincerity is an opening of the heart, found in very few people. What we usually see is merely a cunning deceit to gain another’s confidence.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Some accidents there are in life that a little folly is necessary to help us out of.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Some counterfeits reproduce so very well the truth that it would be a flaw of judgment not to be deceived by them.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Some people displease with merit, and others’ very faults and defects are pleasing.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Some people resemble ballads, which are only sung for a certain time.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Some people with great virtues are disagreeable, while others with great vices are delightful.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Some women are so just and discerning that they never see an opportunity to be generous.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Sometimes accidents happen in life from which we have need of a little madness to extricate ourselves successfully.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Taste may change, but inclination never.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Temperance is the love of health — or the inability to eat or drink much.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
That good disposition which boasts of being most tender is often stifled by the least urging of self-interest.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The accent of a man’s native country remains in his mind and his heart, as it does in his speech.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The defects and faults of the mind are like wounds in the body; after all imaginable care has been taken to heal them up, still there will be a scar left behind, and they are in continual danger of breaking the skin and bursting out again.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The defects of the mind, like those of the face, grow worse with age.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The desire of appearing clever often prevents our becoming so.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The desire to seem clever often keeps us from being so.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The duration of passion is no more in our power than the duration of life.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
The first lover is kept a long while, when no offer is made of a second.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The force we use on ourselves, to prevent ourselves from loving, is often more cruel than the severest treatment at the hands of one loved.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The generality of virtuous women are like hidden treasures, they are safe only because nobody has sought after them.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The glory of great men should be measured by the means they have used to acquire it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The gratitude of most men is merely a secret desire to receive greater benefits.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
The greatest art of an able man is to know how to conceal his ability.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)

The greatest miracle of love is that it cures coquetry.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
The greatest of all gifts is the power to estimate things at their true worth.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The greatest part of intimate confidences proceed from a desire either to be pitied or admired.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The happiness and misery of men depend no less on temper than fortune.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The head is always the dupe of the heart.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
The heart is forever making the head its fool.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
The heart of a coquette is like a rose, of which the lovers pluck the leaves, leaving only the thorns for the husband.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
The height of ability in the least able consists in knowing how to submit to the good leadership of others.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The intention of never deceiving often exposes us to deception.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The love of justice is simply in the majority of men the fear of suffering injustice.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims, Maxim 78 (1665–1678)
The man that thinks he loves his mistress for her own sake is mightily mistaken.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The man who thinks he can do without the world is indeed mistaken; but the man who thinks the world cannot do without him is mistaken even worse.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The mind cannot long act the role of the heart.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The moderation of people in prosperity is the effect of a smooth and composed temper, owing to the calm of their good fortune.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The more one loves a mistress, the more one is ready to hate her.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

The most untutored person with passion is more persuasive than the most eloquent without.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The name and pretense of virtue is as serviceable to self-interest as are real vices.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The only good copies are those which make us see the absurdity of bad originals.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The only thing constant in life is change.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The only thing that should surprise us is that there are still some things that can surprise us.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The passions are the only advocates which always persuade. They are a natural art, the rules of which are infallible; and the simplest man with passion will be more persuasive than the most eloquent without.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
The passions are the only orators which always persuade.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
The passions possess a certain injustice and self interest which makes it dangerous to follow them, and in reality we should distrust them even when they appear most trustworthy.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The pleasure of love is in the loving; and there is more joy in the passion one feels than in that which one inspires.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The principal point of cleverness is to know how to value things just as they deserve.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The reason that lovers never weary each other is because they are always talking about themselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The reason why lovers never weary of each other’s company is because they speak always of themselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
The reason why so few people are agreeable in conversation is that each is thinking more about what he intends to say than others are saying.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The reason why so few women are touched by friendship is, that they find it dull when they have experienced love.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
The rudest man, inspired by passion, is more persuasive than the most eloquent man, if uninspired.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)

The steadfastness of the wise is but the art of keeping their agitation locked in their hearts.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
The struggle we undergo to remain faithful to one we love is little better than infidelity.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The sure mark of one born with noble qualities is being born without envy.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The sure way to be cheated is to think one’s self more cunning than others.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The surest way to be deceived is to think oneself cleverer than the others.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The virtue of women is often the love of reputation and quiet.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
The virtues and vices are all put in motion by interest.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The virtuous woman who falls in love is much to be pitied.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
The world more often rewards the appearance of merit than merit itself.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There are a great many men valued in society who have nothing to recommend them but serviceable vices.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There are bad people who would be less dangerous if they were quite devoid of goodness.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There are but very few men clever enough to know all the mischief they do.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There are crimes which become innocent and even glorious through their splendor, number and excess.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There are good marriages, but no delicious ones.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There are heroes in evil as well as in good.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

There are no marriages in paradise — thank Heaven!

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
There are some faults which, when well managed, make a greater figure than virtue itself.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
There are two sorts of constancy in love; the one comes from the constant discovery in our beloved of new grounds for love, and the other from making it a point of honor to be constant.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There are very few people who are not ashamed of having been in love when they no longer love each other.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There are very few things impossible in themselves; and we do not want means to conquer difficulties so much as application and resolution in the use of means.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There is a kind of elevation which does not depend on fortune. It is a certain air which distinguishes us, and seems to destine us for great things; it is a price which we set upon ourselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There is but one kind of love, but there are a thousand different copies of it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
There is great skill in knowing how to conceal one’s skill.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There is many a virtuous woman weary of her trade.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There is no accident so disastrous that a clever man cannot derive some profit from it; nor any so fortunate that a fool cannot turn it to his disadvantage.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There is no better proof of a man’s being truly good than his desiring to be constantly under the observation of good men.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There is no disguise which can hide love for long where it exists, or simulate it where it does not.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There is no use being young without being beautiful, and no use being beautiful without being young.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
There is only one kind of love, but there are a thousand imitations.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
They that apply themselves to trifling matters commonly become incapable of great ones.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them in others.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Those who give too much attention to trifling things become generally incapable of great things.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Those who have had great passions often find all their lives made miserable in being cured of them.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Though men are apt to flatter and exalt themselves with their great achievements, yet these are, in truth, very often owing not so much to design as chance.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Though nature be ever so generous, yet can she not make a hero alone. Fortune must contribute her part too; and till both concur, the work cannot be perfected.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Timidity is a fault for which it is dangerous to reprove persons whom we wish to correct of it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
To love is the least of the faults of a loving woman.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
To safeguard one’s health at the cost of too strict a diet is a tiresome illness indeed.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Too great haste to repay an obligation is a kind of ingratitude.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
Tricks and treachery are merely proofs of lack of skill.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
True eloquence consists in saying all that should be said, and that only.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
True love is like the appearance of ghosts; everyone talks about it but few have seen it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Vanity, shame, and, above all, temperament, often make the valor of men, and the virtue of women.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Vices enter into the composition of virtues as poison into that of medicines. Prudence collects and blends the two and renders them useful against the ills of life.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Virtue would not go nearly so far if vanity did not keep her company.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)

Virtues are lost in self-interest, as rivers are lost in the sea.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We all have enough strength to endure the misfortunes of others.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We always love those who admire us; we do not always love those whom we admire.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We are by no means aware how much we are influenced by our passions.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
We are eager to believe that others are flawed because we are eager to believe in what we wish for.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We are inconsolable at being deceived by our enemies and betrayed by our friends, yet still we are often content to be thus served by ourselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We are never as happy, nor as unhappy, as we fancy.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
We are never so happy or unhappy as we think.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We are never so ridiculous through what we are as through what we pretend to be.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We are so accustomed to wearing a disguise before others that eventually we are unable to recognize ourselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We are so used to dissembling with others that in time we come to deceive and dissemble with ourselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We come altogether fresh and raw into the several stages of life, and often find ourselves without experience, despite our years.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We condemn vice and extol virtue only through interest.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)

We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We confess small faults in order to insinuate that we have no great ones.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
We do not despise all those who have vices, but we do despise those that have no virtue.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We do not regret the loss of our friends by reasons of their merit, but because of our needs and for the good opinion that we believed them to have held of us.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We easily forgive our friends those faults that do no affect us ourselves.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We give advice, but we cannot give the wisdom to profit by it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We hardly find any persons of good sense save those who agree with us.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We have not always enough reason to employ all our strength.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
We need greater virtues to sustain good fortune than bad.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We never desire strongly, what we desire rationally.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We often boast that we are never bored, but yet we are so conceited that we do not perceive how often we bore others.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those whom we bore.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We often shed tears that deceive ourselves after deceiving others.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We please oftener by our defects than by our virtues.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

We seldom attribute common sense except to those who agree with us.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We seldom find any person of good sense, except those who share our opinions.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We seldom find people ungrateful so long as we are in a condition to render them service.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We seldom praise anyone in good earnest, except such as admire us.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We should be above jealousy when there is real cause for it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
We should manage our fortune as we do our health: enjoy it when good, be patient when it is bad, and never apply violent remedies except in an extreme necessity.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We should often be ashamed of our best actions if the world saw the motives which inspire us.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
We should often blush for our very best actions, if the world did but see all the motives upon which they were done.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We take less pains to be happy than to appear so.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
We would often be ashamed of our best actions if the world knew the motives behind them.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
We would rather speak ill of ourselves than not talk about ourselves at all.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Weakness of character is the only defect which cannot be amended.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Were we faultless, we would not derive such satisfaction from remarking the faults of others.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Were we perfectly acquainted with our idol, we should never passionately desire it.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
What is called generosity is usually only the vanity of giving; we enjoy the vanity more than the thing given.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)

What keeps us from abandoning ourselves entirely to one vice, often, is the fact that we have several.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
What makes the pain we feel from shame and jealousy so cutting is that vanity can give us no assistance in bearing them.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
What prevents us from being natural is the desire to appear so.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
What renders the vanity of others unbearable to us is the wound it inflicts on ours.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
What seems to be generosity is often no more than disguised ambition, which overlooks a small interest in order to secure a great one.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
What we call generosity is for the most part only the vanity of giving; and we exercise it because we are more fond of that vanity than of the thing we give.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Whatever difference may appear in the fortunes of mankind, there is, nevertheless, a certain compensation of good and evil which makes them equal.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Whatever good is said of us, we learn nothing new.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod translater and compiler (1886)
When love increases, prudence decreases.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
When our hatred is too bitter it places us below those whom we hate.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
When our hatred is violent, it sinks us even beneath those we hate.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
When the vices give us up, we flatter ourselves that we are giving up them.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)
When we are in love we often doubt that which we most believe.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
When we enlarge upon the affection our friends have for us, this is very often not so much out of a sense of gratitude as from a desire to persuade people of our own great worth, that can deserve so much kindness.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

When we seek reconciliation with our enemies, it is commonly out of a desire to better our own condition, a being harassed and tired out with a state of war, and a fear of some ill accident which we are willing to prevent.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Women are rakes by nature and prudes from necessity.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Women who love pardon more readily great indiscretions than little infidelities.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Women’s virtue is frequently nothing but a regard to their own quiet and a tenderness for their reputation.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
You are never so easily fooled as when trying to fool someone else.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Youth is a continual intoxication, the fever of reason.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, J. De Finod, translator and compiler (1886)
Youth is a perpetual intoxication; it is a fever of the mind.

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Maximes (1665)

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