VOLTAIRE, Francois Marie de Quotes
(1694-1778), French poet and dramatist
Satire lies about men of letters during their lives, and eulogy after their death.
The secret of making one's self tiresome, is, not to know when to stop.
Providence has given us hope and sleep as a compensation for the many cares of life.
Chance is a word void of sense; nothing can exist without a cause.
Every man, as to character, is the creature of the age in which he lives.— Very few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of their times.
The right of commanding is no longer an advantage transmitted by nature; like an inheritance, it is the fruit of labors, the price of courage.
Complacency is a coin by the aid of which all the world can, for want of essential means, pay its club bill in society.—It is necessary, however, that it may lose nothing of its merits, to associate judgment and prudence with it.
Weakness on both sides, is, as we know, the trait of all quarrels.
Fear follows crime, and is its punishment.
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 the necessary effect of some previous cause.
Regimen is better than physic. Every one should be his own physician.—We should assist, not force nature.—Eat with moderation what you know by experience agrees with your constitution.—Nothing is good for the body but what we can digest.—What can procure digestion?—Exercise.—What will recruit strength?—Sleep.—What will alleviate incurable evils?—Patience.
They who say all men are equal speak an undoubted truth, if they mean that all have an equal right to liberty, to their property, and to their protection of the laws.—But they are mistaken if they think men are equal in their station and employments, since they are not so by their talents.
What a heavy burden is a name that has too soon become famous.
If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.
Regimen is better than physic. Every one should be his own physician. We ought to assist, and not to force nature. Eat with moderation what agrees with your constitution. Nothing is good for the body but what we can digest. What medicine can procure digestion? Exercise. What will recruit strength? Sleep. What will alleviate incurable evils? Patience.
Many historians take pleasure in putting into the mouths of princes what they have neither said nor ought to have said.
Ideas are like beards; men do not have them until they grow up.
The sentiment of justice is so natural, and so universally acquired by all mankind, that it seems to be independent of all law, all party, all religion.
Labor rids us of three great evils— irksomeness, vice, and poverty.
A multitude of laws in a country is like a great number of physicians, a sign of weakness and malady.
We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.
Life is thick sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.
Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.
We cannot always oblige, but we can always speak obligingly.
When he that speaks, and he to whom he speaks, neither of them understand what is meant, that is metaphysics.
The opportunity to do mischief is found a hundred times a day, and that of doing good once a year.
All sects are different, because they come from men; morality is everywhere the same, because it comes from God.
The history of human opinion is scarcely anything more than the history of human errors.
Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.—The most original writers borrowed one from another. The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbor's kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.
The passions are the winds that fill the sails of the vessel.—They sink it at times; but without them it would be impossible to make way.—Many things that are dangerous here below, are still necessary.
Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time.
The discovery of what is true, and the practice of that which is good, are the two most important objects of philosophy.
All the makers of dictionaries, and 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 they are honest plagiarists, who do not arrogate the merit of invention.—Call them, if you please, book-makers, not authors; rather secondhand dealers than plagiarists.
One merit of poetry few persons will deny; it says more, and in fewer words, than prose.
Prejudice is the reason of fools.
Prejudices are what rule the vulgar crowd.
The infinitely little have a pride infinitely great.
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.
The punishment of criminals should be of use; when a man is hanged he is good for nothing.
Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
The multiplicity of facts and writings is become so great that everything must soon be reduced to extracts.
Life resembles the banquet of Damocles; the sword is ever suspended.
Those who have affirmed self-love to be the basis of all our sentiments and 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.
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 possess it.
There is a wide difference between speaking to deceive, and being silent to be impenetrable.
A great writer possesses, so to speak, an individual and unchangeable style, which does not permit him easily to preserve the anonymous.
To be suspicious is to invite treachery.
The tolerance of all religions is a law of nature, stamped on the hearts of all men.
He who seeks truth should be of no country.
That sovereign is a tyrant who knows no law but his own caprice.
Men are in general so tricky, so envious, and so cruel, that when we find one who is only weak, we are happy.
All the reasonings of men are not worth one sentiment of women.