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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Voltaire
 
        The first king was a successful soldier;
He who serves well his country has no need of ancestors.
  1
  A company of tyrants in inaccessible to all seductions.  2
  A despot has always some good moments.  3
  A good imitation is the most perfect originality.  4
  A great writer possesses, so to speak, an individual and unchangeable style, which does not permit him easily to preserve the anonymous.  5
  A man who pours drugs of which he knows little into a body of which he knows less.  6
  A small number of choice books are sufficient.  7
  A woman can keep one secret,—the secret of her age.  8
  All men are equal; it is not birth, but virtue alone, that makes the difference.  9
  All sects are different, because they come from men; morality is everywhere the same, because it comes from God.  10
  All the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books.  11
  All the makers of dictionaries, all compilers who do nothing else than repeat backwards and forwards the opinions, the errors, the impostures, and the truths already printed, we may term plagiarists; but honest plagiarists, who arrogate not the merit of invention.  12
  Always at work.  13
  Bring together all the children of the universe, you will see nothing in them but innocence, gentleness, and fear; were they born wicked, spiteful, and cruel, some signs of it would come from them; as little snakes strive to bite, and little tigers to tear. But nature having been as sparing of offensive weapons to man as to pigeons and rabbits, it cannot have given them an instinct to mischief and destruction.  14
  But nothing is more estimable than a physician who, having studied nature from his youth, knows the properties of the human body, the diseases which assail it, the remedies which will benefit it, exercises his art with caution, and pays equal attention to the rich and the poor.  15
  By appreciation we make excellence in others our own property.  16
  Chance is a word void of sense; nothing can exist without a cause.  17
  Character is what nature has engraven in us; can we then efface it?  18
  Clever tyrants are never punished.  19
  Complacency is a coin by the aid of which all the world can, for want of essential means, pay his club-bill in society. It is necessary, finally, that it may lose nothing of its merits, to associate judgment and prudence with it.  20
 
 
  Dress changes the manners.  21
  Every one goes astray, but the least imprudent are they who repent the soonest.  22
  Everything is done by immutable laws, and our destiny is already recorded.  23
  Everything is for the best to this best of possible worlds.  24
  Faith is deferential incredulity.  25
  False wit is a fatiguing search after cunning traits, an affectation of saying in enigmas what others have already said naturally, to hang together ideas which are incompatible, to divide that which ought to be united, of seizing false relations.  26
  Fanaticism, to which men are so much inclined, has always served not only to render them more brutalized but more wicked.  27
  Fear follows crime, and is its punishment.  28
  Fortune! There is no fortune; all is trial, or punishment, or recompense, or foresight.  29
  Friendship is the marriage of the soul.  30
  Friendship, gift of heaven, delight of great souls; friendship which kings, so distinguished for ingratitude, are unhappy enough not to know.  31
  Great pleasures are serious.  32
  Happiness is a good that Nature sells us.  33
  He shines in the second rank, who is eclipsed in the first.  34
  He who has not the spirit of his age has all the misery of it.  35
  He who is only just is stern; he who is only wise lives in gloom.  36
  He who seeks the truth should be of no country.  37
  He whom love guards, is well guarded.  38
  Heaven made virtue; man, the appearance.  39
  History is little else than a picture of human crimes and misfortunes.  40
  How dear is fatherland to all noble hearts!  41
  I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.  42
  I pity the man overwhelmed with the weight of his own leisure.  43
  Ideas are like beards: men do not have them until they grow up.  44
  If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.  45
  Illusion is the first of all pleasures.  46
  In every author let us distinguish the man from his works.  47
  Is there any one so wise as to learn by the experience of others?  48
  It is ever the improbable that the sceptic is the most ready to give ear to.  49
  It is firmness that makes the gods on our side.  50
  It is strange that thought should depend upon the stomach, and still that men with the best stomachs are not always the best thinkers.  51
  It is the danger which is least expected that soonest comes to us.  52
  It is the flash which appears, the thunder bolt will follow.  53
  It is the misfortune of worthy people that they are cowards.  54
  It is unreasonable for us to look for as great a degree of energy in a woman as in a man; energy is quite as much of a physical as a mental product.  55
  It is vain for the coward to fly; death follows close behind; it is by defying it that the brave escape.  56
  It is with books as with men: a very small number play a great part; the rest are confounded with the multitude.  57
  Jesting is frequently an evidence of the poverty of the understanding.  58
  Labour rids us of three great evils: irksomeness, vice and poverty.  59
  Let those who celebrate by name, by waxlight at noonday, tolerate such as are content with the light of the sun.  60
  Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason, at all; and others, to persecute those who do reason.  61
  Men are in general so tricky, so envious, and so cruel that when we find one who is only weak, we are too happy.  62
  Moderation is the pleasure of the wise.  63
  Mortals are equal; their mask differs.  64
  Nothing is more estimable than a physician who, having a studied nature from his youth, knows the properties of the human body, the diseases which assail it, the remedies which will benefit it, exercises his art, with caution, and pays equal attention to the rich and the poor.  65
  O Truth! pure and sacred virgin, when wilt thou be worthily revered? O Goddess, who instructs us, why didst thou put thy palace in a well?  66
  One merit of poetry few persons will deny: it says more and in fewer words than prose.  67
  Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.  68
  Perfection is attained by slow degrees; she requires the hand of time.  69
  Philosophers never stood in need of Homer or the Pharisees, to be convinced that everything is done by immutable laws, that everything is settled, that everything is a necessary effect of some previous cause.  70
  Pleasure has its time; so too has wisdom. Make love in thy youth, and in old age attend to thy salvation.  71
  Poetry is the music of the soul, and, above all, of great and feeling souls.  72
  Prejudice is the reason of fools.  73
  Prejudices are what rule the vulgar crowd.  74
  Present opportunities are not to be neglected; they rarely visit us twice.  75
  Providence has given us hope and sleep as a compensation for the many cares of life.  76
  Satire is the right hand of burlesque.  77
  Satire lies respecting literary men during their life, and eulogy does so after their death.  78
  Self-love is the instrument of our preservation; it resembles the provision for the perpetuity of mankind. It is necessary, it is dear to us, it gives us pleasure, and we must conceal it.  79
  Slavery is also as ancient as war, and war as human nature.  80
  Slavery is as ancient as war, and war as human nature.  81
  Such is the destiny of great men that their superior genius always exposes them to be the butt of the envenomed darts of calumny and envy.  82
  Suspicion invites treachery.  83
  Systems exercise the mind; but faith enlightens and guides it.  84
  Tears are the silent language of grief.  85
  The character of the common people changes in a single day.  86
  The discovery of what is true and the practice of that which is good are the two most important objects of philosophy.  87
  The ear is the road to the heart.  88
  The fate of a nation has often depended on the good or bad digestion of a prime minister.  89
  The flowery style is not unsuitable to public speeches or addresses, which amount only to compliment. The lighter beauties are in their place when there is nothing more solid to say; but the flowery style ought to be banished from a pleading, a sermon, or a didactic work.  90
  The infinitely little have a pride infinitely great.  91
  The little may contrast with the great, in painting, but cannot be said to be contrary to it. Oppositions of colors contrast; but there are also colors contrary to each other, that is, which produce an ill effect because they shock the eye when brought very near it.  92
  The modesty of certain ambitious persons consists in becoming great without making too much noise; it may be said that they advance in the world on tiptoe.  93
  The multiplicity of facts and writings is become so great that everything must soon be reduced to extracts.  94
  The multitude are ruled by prejudices.  95
  The opportunity to do mischief is found a hundred times a day, and that of doing good once a year.  96
  The passions are the winds which fill the sails of the vessel; they sink it at times, but without them it would be impossible to make way. Bile makes man passionate and sick; but without bile man could not live.  97
  The path of genius is not less obstructed with disappointment than that of ambition.  98
  The post is the grand connecting link of all transactions, of all negotiations. Those who are absent, by its means become present; it is the consolation of life.  99
  The progress of rivers to the ocean is not so rapid as that of man to error.  100
  The punishment of criminals should be of use; when a man is hanged he is good for nothing.  101
  The richest endowments of the mind are temperance, prudence, and fortitude. Prudence is a universal virtue, which enters into the composition of all the rest; and where she is not, fortitude loses its name and nature.  102
  The secret of making one’s self tiresome is not to know when to stop.  103
  The secret of tiring is to say everything that can be said on the subject.  104
  The sentiment of justice is so natural, so universally acquired by all mankind, that it seems to me independent of all law, all party, all religion.  105
  The sovereign is called a tyrant who knows no laws but his caprice.  106
  The superfluous, a thing highly necessary.  107
  The sword is ever suspended.  108
  There are moral as well as physical assassinations.  109
  There is in some minds a nucleus of error which attracts and assimilates everything to itself.  110
  They only employ words to disguise their thoughts.  111
  This is faith: it is nothing more than obedience.  112
  Those who have affirmed self-love to be the basis of all our sentiments and all our actions are much in the right. There is no occasion to demonstrate that men have a face; as little need is there of proving to them that they are actuated by self-love.  113
  Those who lament for fortune do not often lament for themselves.  114
  Titles are of no value to posterity; the name of a man who has achieved great deeds imposes more respect than any or all epithets.  115
  To be at peace in crime! ah, who can thus flatter himself?  116
  Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.  117
  Vacillation is the prominent feature of weakness of character.  118
  Very learned women are to be found, in the same manner as female warriors; but they are seldom or never inventors.  119
  Virtue is everywhere the same, because it comes from God, while everything else is of men.  120
  Virtuous men alone possess friends.  121
  We cannot wish for that we know not.  122
  We must distinguish between speaking to deceive and being silent to be reserved.  123
  Weakness on both sides is, as we know, the motto of all quarrels.  124
  What a heavy burden is a name that has become too soon famous!  125
  What then do you call your soul? What idea have you of it? You cannot of yourselves, without revelation, admit the existence within you of anything but a power unknown to you of feeling and thinking.  126
  What unknown power governs men! On what feeble causes do their destinies hinge!  127
  When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, this is metaphysics.  128
  Whoever is suspicious invites treason.  129
  Whoever serves his country well has no need of ancestors.  130
 
 
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