RALEIGH, Sir Walter Quotes
(1552-1618), English courtier and navigator
On death and judgment, heaven and hell, who oft doth think, must needs die well.
No man is esteemed for gay garments, but by fools and women.
It were better for a man to be subject to any vice, than to drunkenness; for all other vanities and sins are recovered, but a drunkard will never shake off the delight of beastliness; for the longer it possesseth a man, the more he will delight in it, and the older he groweth the more he shall be subject to it; for it dulleth the spirits, and destroyeth the body as ivy doth the ola tree; or as the worm that engendereth in the kernel of the nut.
The difference between a rich man and a poor man, is this—the former eats when he pleases, and the latter when he can get it.
The gain of lying is nothing else but not to be trusted of any, nor to be believed when we say the truth.
Flatterers are the worst kind of traitors for they will strengthen thy imperfections, encourage thee in all evils, correct thee in nothing, but so shadow and paint all thy vices and follies as thou shalt never, by their will, discern good from evil, or vice from virtue.
There is nothing more becoming any wise man, than to make choice of friends, for by them thou shalt be judged what thou art: let them therefore be wise and virtuous, and none of those that follow thee for gain; but make election rather of thy betters than thy inferiors, shunning always such as are poor and needy; for if thou givest twenty gifts, and refuse to do the like but once, all that thou hast done will be lost, and such men will become thy mortal enemies.
Thou mayest be sure that he that will in private tell thee of thy faults, is thy friend, for he adventures thy dislike, and doth hazard thy hatred; there are few men that can endure it; every man for the most part delighting in self-praise, which is one of the most universal follies that bewitcheth mankind.
If thy friends be of better quality than thyself, thou mayest be sure of two things; the first, they will be more careful to keep thy counsel, because they have more to lose than thou hast; the second, they will esteem thee for thyself, and not for that which thou dost possess.
Men well governed should seek after no other liberty, for there can be no greater liberty than a good government.
A man must first govern himself ere he is fit to govern a family; and his family ere he be fit to bear the government of the commonwealth.
We may gather out of history a policy no less wise than eternal, by the comparison and application of other men's forepast miseries with our own like errors and ill deservings.
It would be an unspeakable advantage, both to the public and private, if men would consider that great truth, that no man is wise or safe, but he that is honest.
Men endure the losses that befall them by mere casualty with more patience than the damages they sustain by injustice.
Bestow thy youth so that thou mayst have comfort to remember it, when it hath forsaken thee, and not sigh and grieve at the account thereof. Whilst thou art young thou wilt think it will never have an end; but behold, the longest day hath his evening, and thou shalt enjoy it but once; it never turns again; use it therefore as the spring-time, which soon departeth, and wherein thou oughtest to plant and sow all provisions for a long and happy life.
Speaking much is a sign of vanity, for he that is lavish in words is a niggard in deed.
The gain of lying is, not to be trusted of any, nor to be believed when we speak the truth.
Better were it to be unborn than to be ill bred.
Remember, that if thou marry for beauty, thou bindest thyself all thy life for that which perchance will neither last nor please thee one year; and when thou hast it, it will be to thee of no price at all; for the desire dieth when it is attained, and the affection perisheth when it is satisfied.
Have ever more care that thou be beloved of thy wife, rather than thyself besotted on her; and thou shalt judge of her love by these two observations: first, if thou perceive she have a care of thy estate, and exercise herself therein; the other, if she study to please thee, and be sweet unto thee in conversation, without thy instruction; for love needs no teaching nor precept.
Passions are likened best to floods and reams: the shallow murmur, but the deep are dumb.
O! reputation, dearer far than life, thou precious balsam, lovely, sweet of smell, whose cordial drops once spilt by some rash hand, not all thy owner's care, nor the repenting toil of the rude spiller, ever can collect to its first purity and native sweetness.
Whoever commands the sea, commands the trade, whoever commands the trade of the world, commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.
A man must first govern himself, ere he be fit to govern a family; and his family, ere he be fit to bear the government in the commonwealth.
Let thy servants be such as thou mayest command, and entertain none about thee but those to whom thou givest wages; for those that will serve thee without thy hire will cost thee treble as much as they that know thy fare.
Divines do rightly infer from the sixth commandment, that scandalizing one's neighbor with false and malicious reports, whereby I vex his spirit, and consequently impair his healthy is a degree of murder.
He that hath pity on another man's sorrow shall be free from it himself; and he that delighteth in, and scorneth the misery of another shall one time or other fall into it himself.
According to Solomon, life and death are in the power of the tongue; and as Euripides truly affirmeth, every unbridled tongue in the end shall find itself unfortunate; in all that ever I observed I ever found that men's fortunes are oftener made by their tongues than by their virtues, and more men's fortunes overthrown thereby, also, than by their vices.
If thou be bound for a stranger, thou art a fool; if for a merchant, thou puttest thy estate to learn to swim; if for a lawyer, he will find an evasion by a syllable or a word; if for a poor man, thou must pay it thyself; if for a rich man, he needs not; therefore, from suretyship, as from a manslayer or enchanter, bless thyself; for the best return will be this—if thou force him for whom thou art bound to pay it himself he will become thy enemy; if thou pay it thyself, thou wilt become a beggar.
If any friend desire thee to be his surety, give him a part of what thou hast to spare; if he press thee further, he is not thy friend at all, for friendship rather chooseth harm to itself than offereth it.
He that cannot refrain from much speaking is like a city without walls; therefore if thou observest this rule in all assemblies thou shalt seldom err; restrain thy choler, hearken much, and speak little, for the tongue is the instrument of the greatest good and greatest evil that is done in the world.
Speaking much is a sign of vanity; for he that is lavish in words, is a niggard in deed.
Except thou desire to hasten thine end, take this for a general rule, that thou never add any artificial heat to thy body by wine or spice, until thou find that time hath decayed thy natural heat; and the sooner thou beginnest to help Nature, the sooner she will forsake thee, and leave thee to trust altogether to Art.
It is observed in the course of worldly things, that men's fortunes are oftener made by their tongues than by their virtues; and more men's fortunes overthrown thereby than by their vices.
If thou be subject to any great vanity or ill, then therein trust no man; for every man's folly ought to be his greatest secret.
Take special care that thou never trust any friend or servant with any matter that may endanger thine estate; for so shalt thou make thyself a bondslave to him that thou trustest, and leave thyself always to his mercy.
I do not understand those to be poor and in want, who are vagabonds and beggars, but such as are old and cannot travel, such poor widows and fatherless children as are ordered to be relieved, and the poor tenants that travail to pay their rents and are driven to poverty by mischance, and not by riot or careless expenses; on such have thou compassion, and God will bless thee for it.
The practices of war are so hateful to God, that were not his mercies infinite, it were in vain for those of that profession to hope for any portion of them.
What thou givest after thy death, remember that thou givest it to a stranger, and most times to an enemy; for he that shall marry thy wife will despise thee, thy memory and thine, and shall possess the quiet of thy labors, the fruit when thou hast planted, enjoy thy love, and spend with joy and ease what thou hast spared and gotten with care and travail.
Bestow thy youth so that thou mayest have comfort to remember it when it hath forsaken thee, and not sigh and grieve at the account thereof. While thou art young thou wilt think it will never have an end; but the longest day hath its evening, and thou shalt enjoy it but once; it never turns again; use it therefore as the spring-time, which soon departeth, and wherein thou oughtest to plant and sow all provisions for a long and happy life.