Baltasar Gracian

Type
Thu Nov

Do not affect what you have not effected.

Do not affect what you have not effected. Many claim exploits without the slightest claim. ‘With the greatest coolness they makea mystery of all. Chameleons of applause they afford others…

Do not affect what you have not effected. Many claim exploits without the slightest claim. ‘With the greatest coolness they makea mystery of all. Chameleons of applause they afford others a surfeit of laughter. Vanity is always objectionable, here it is despicable. These ants of honour go crawling about filching scraps of exploits. The greater your exploits the less you need affect them: content yourself with doing, leave the talking to others. Give away your deeds but do not sell them. And do not hire venal pens to write down praises in the mud, to the derision of the knowing ones. Aspire rather to be a hero than merely to appear one.

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Type
Thu Nov

Noble Qualities.

Noble Qualities. Noble qualities make noblemen: a single one of them is worth more than a multitude of mediocre ones. There was once a man who made all his belongings,…

Noble Qualities. Noble qualities make noblemen: a single one of them is worth more than a multitude of mediocre ones. There was once a man who made all his belongings, even his household utensils, as great as possible. How much more ought a great man see that the qualities of his soul are as great as possible. In God all is eternal and infinite, so in a hero everything should be great and majestic, so that all his deeds, nay, all his words, should he pervaded by a transcendent majesty.

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Type
Thu Nov

Always act as if your Acts were seen.

Always act as if your Acts were seen. He must see all round who sees that men see him or will see him. He knows that walls have ears and…

Always act as if your Acts were seen. He must see all round who sees that men see him or will see him. He knows that walls have ears and that ill deeds rebound back. Even when alone he acts as if the eyes of the whole world were upon him. For as he knows that sooner or later all will be known, so he considers those to be present as witnesses who must afterwards hear of the deed. He that wished the whole world might always see him did not mind that his neighbours could see him over their walls.

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Type
Thu Nov

Three Things go to a Prodigy.

Three Things go to a Prodigy. They are the choicest gifts of Heaven’s prodigality–a fertile genius, a profound intellect, a pleasant and refined taste. To think well is good, to…

Three Things go to a Prodigy. They are the choicest gifts of Heaven’s prodigality–a fertile genius, a profound intellect, a pleasant and refined taste. To think well is good, to think right is better: Ì¥tis the understanding of the good. It will not do for the judgment to reside in the backbone: it would be of more trouble than use. To think aright is the fruit of a reasonable nature. At twenty the will rules; at thirty the intellect; at forty the judgment. There are minds that shine in the dark like the eyes of the lynx, and are most clear where there is most darkness. Others are more adapted for the occasion: they always hit on that which suits the emergency:such a quality produces much and good; a sort of fecund felicity. In the meantime good taste seasons the whole of life.

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Type
Thu Nov

Leave off Hungry.

Leave off Hungry. One ought to remove even the bowl of nectar from the lips. Demand is the measure of value. Even with regard to bodily thirst it is a…

Leave off Hungry. One ought to remove even the bowl of nectar from the lips. Demand is the measure of value. Even with regard to bodily thirst it is a mark of good taste to slake but not to quench it. Little and good is twice good. The second time comes a great falling off. Surfeit of pleasure was ever dangerous and brings down the ill-will of the Highest Powers. The only way to please is to revive the appetite by the hunger that is left. If you must excite desire, better do it by the impatience of want than by the repletion of enjoyment. Happiness earned gives double joy.

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Type
Thu Nov

In one word, be a Saint.

In one word, be a Saint. So is all said at once. Virtue is the link of all perfections, the centre of all the felicities. She it is that makes…

In one word, be a Saint. So is all said at once. Virtue is the link of all perfections, the centre of all the felicities. She it is that makes a man prudent, discreet, sagacious, cautious, wise, courageous, thoughtful, trustworthy, happy, honoured, truthful, and a universal Hero. Three HHH’s make a man happy–Health, Holiness, and a Headpiece.Virtue is the sun of the microcosm, and has for hemisphere a good conscience. She is so beautiful that she finds favour with both God and man. Nothing is lovable but virtue, nothing detestable but vice. Virtue alone is serious, all else is but jest. A man’s capacity and greatness are to be measured by his virtue and not by his fortune. She alone is all-sufficient. She makes men lovable in life, memorable after death.

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Type
Thu Nov

Nothing depreciates a Man more than to show he is a Man like other Men.

Nothing depreciates a Man more than to show he is a Man like other Men. The day he is seen to be very human he ceases to be thought divine….

Nothing depreciates a Man more than to show he is a Man like other Men. The day he is seen to be very human he ceases to be thought divine. Frivolity is the exact opposite of reputation. And as the re-served are held to be more than men, so the frivolous are held to be less. No failing causessuch failure of respect. For frivolity is the exact opposite of solid seriousness. A man of levity cannot be a man of weight even when he is old, and age should oblige him to be prudent. Although this blemish is so common it is none the less despised.

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Type
Thu Nov

Ì¥Tis a piece of good Fortune to combine Men’s Love and Respect.

Ì¥Tis a piece of good Fortune to combine Men’s Love and Respect. Generally one dare not be liked if one would be respected. Love is more sensitive than hate. Love…

Ì¥Tis a piece of good Fortune to combine Men’s Love and Respect. Generally one dare not be liked if one would be respected. Love is more sensitive than hate. Love and honour do not go well together. So that one should aim neither to be much feared nor much loved. Love introduces confidence, and the further this advances, the more respect recedes. Prefer to be loved with respect rather than with passion, for that is a love suitable for many.

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Type
Thu Nov

Know how to Test.

Know how to Test. The care of the wise must guard against the snare of the wicked. Great judgment is needed to test that of another. It is more important…

Know how to Test. The care of the wise must guard against the snare of the wicked. Great judgment is needed to test that of another. It is more important to know the characteristics and properties of persons than those of vegetables and minerals. It is indeed one of the shrewdest things in life. You can tell metals bytheir ring and men by their voice. Words are proof of integrity, deeds still more. Here one requires extraordinary care, deep observation, subtle discernment, and judicious decision.

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Type
Thu Nov

Let your personal Qualities surpass those of your Office,

Let your personal Qualities surpass those of your Office, Let it not be the other way about. How-ever high the post, the person should be higher. An extensive capacity expands…

Let your personal Qualities surpass those of your Office, Let it not be the other way about. How-ever high the post, the person should be higher. An extensive capacity expands and dilates more and more as his office becomes higher. On the other hand, the narrow-minded will easily lose heart and come to grief with diminished responsibilities and reputation. The great Augustus thought more of being a great man than a great prince. Here a lofty mind finds fit place, and well-grounded confidence finds its opportunity.

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