Reflections Or, Sentences and Moral Maxims

300.–There are follies as catching as infections.

301.–Many people despise, but few know how to bestow wealth.

302.–Only in things of small value we usually are bold enough not to
trust to appearances.

303.–Whatever good quality may be imputed to us, we ourselves find
nothing new in it.

304.–We may forgive those who bore us, we cannot forgive those whom we
bore.

305.–Interest which is accused of all our misdeeds often should be
praised for our good deeds.

306.–We find very few ungrateful people when we are able to confer
favours.

307.–It is as proper to be boastful alone as it is ridiculous to be so
in company.

308.–Moderation is made a virtue to limit the ambition of the great;
to console ordinary people for their small fortune and equally small
ability.

309.–There are persons fated to be fools, who commit follies not only
by choice, but who are forced by fortune to do so.

310.–Sometimes there are accidents in our life the skilful extrication
from which demands a little folly.

311.–If there be men whose folly has never appeared, it is because it
has never been closely looked for.

312.–Lovers are never tired of each other,–they always speak of
themselves.

313.–How is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least
triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how
often we have told it to the same person?

[“Old men who yet retain the memory of things past, and forget how often
they have told them, are most tedious companions.”–Montaigne, {Essays,
Book I, Chapter IX}.]

314.–The extreme delight we take in talking of ourselves should warn us
that it is not shared by those who listen.

315.–What commonly hinders us from showing the recesses of our heart
to our friends, is not the distrust we have of them, but that we have of
ourselves.

316.–Weak persons cannot be sincere.

317.–‘Tis a small misfortune to oblige an ungrateful man; but it is
unbearable to be obliged by a scoundrel.

318.–We may find means to cure a fool of his folly, but there are none
to set straight a cross-grained spirit.

319.–If we take the liberty to dwell on their faults we cannot
long preserve the feelings we should hold towards our friends and
benefactors.

320.–To praise princes for virtues they do not possess is but to
reproach them with impunity.

[“Praise undeserved is satire in disguise,” quoted by Pope from a poem
which has not survived, “The Garland,” by Mr. Broadhurst. “In some cases
exaggerated or inappropriate praise becomes the most severe satire.”–
Scott, Woodstock.]

321.–We are nearer loving those who hate us, than those who love us
more than we desire.

322.–Those only are despicable who fear to be despised.

323.–Our wisdom is no less at the mercy of Fortune than our goods.

324.–There is more self-love than love in jealousy.

325.–We often comfort ourselves by the weakness of evils, for which
reason has not the strength to console us.

326.–Ridicule dishonours more than dishonour itself.

[“No,” says a commentator, “Ridicule may do harm, but it cannot
dishonour; it is vice which confers dishonour.”]

327.–We own to small faults to persuade others that we have not great
ones.

328.–Envy is more irreconcilable than hatred.

329.–We believe, sometimes, that we hate flattery –we only dislike the
method.

[“{But} when I tell him he hates flatter{ers}, He says he does, being
then most flattered.” Shakespeare, Julius Caesar {,Act II, Scene I,
Decius}.]

330.–We pardon in the degree that we love.

331.–It is more difficult to be faithful to a mistress when one is
happy, than when we are ill-treated by her.

[Si qua volet regnare diu contemnat amantem.–Ovid, Amores, ii. 19.]

332.–Women do not know all their powers of flirtation.

333.–Women cannot be completely severe unless they hate.

334.–Women can less easily resign flirtations than love.

335.–In love deceit almost always goes further than mistrust.

336.–There is a kind of love, the excess of which forbids jealousy.

337.–There are certain good qualities as there are senses, and those
who want them can neither perceive nor understand them.

338.–When our hatred is too bitter it places us below those whom we
hate.

339.–We only appreciate our good or evil in proportion to our
self-love.

340.–The wit of most women rather strengthens their folly than their
reason.

[“Women have an entertaining tattle, and sometimes wit, but for solid
reasoning and good sense I never knew one in my life that had it,
and who reasoned and acted consequentially for four and twenty hours
together.”–Lord Chesterfield, Letter 129.]

341.–The heat of youth is not more opposed to safety than the coldness
of age.

342.–The accent of our native country dwells in the heart and mind as
well as on the tongue.

343.–To be a great man one should know how to profit by every phase of
fortune.

344.–Most men, like plants, possess hidden qualities which chance
discovers.

345.–Opportunity makes us known to others, but more to ourselves.

346.–If a woman’s temper is beyond control there can be no control of
the mind or heart.

347.–We hardly find any persons of good sense, save those who agree
with us.

[“That was excellently observed, say I, when I read an author when his
opinion agrees with mine.”–Swift, Thoughts On Various Subjects.]

348.–When one loves one doubts even what one most believes.

349.–The greatest miracle of love is to eradicate flirtation.

350.–Why we hate with so much bitterness those who deceive us is
because they think themselves more clever than we are.

[“I could pardon all his (Louis XI.’s) deceit, but I cannot forgive
his supposing me capable of the gross folly of being duped by his
professions.”–Sir Walter Scott, Quentin Durward.]

351.–We have much trouble to break with one, when we no longer are in
love.

352.–We almost always are bored with persons with whom we should not be
bored.

353.–A gentleman may love like a lunatic, but not like a beast.

354.–There are certain defects which well mounted glitter like virtue
itself.

355.–Sometimes we lose friends for whose loss our regret is greater
than our grief, and others for whom our grief is greater than our
regret.

356.–Usually we only praise heartily those who admire us.

357.–Little minds are too much wounded by little things; great minds
see all and are not even hurt.

358.–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.

359.–Infidelities should extinguish love, and we ought not to be
jealous when we have cause to be so. No persons escape causing jealousy
who are worthy of exciting it.

360.–We are more humiliated by the least infidelity towards us, than by
our greatest towards others.

361.–Jealousy is always born with love, but does not always die with
it.

362.–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.

363.–The evils we do to others give us less pain than those we do to
ourselves.

364.–We well know that it is bad taste to talk of our wives; but we do
not so well know that it is the same to speak of ourselves.

365.–There are virtues which degenerate into vices when they arise from
Nature, and others which when acquired are never perfect. For example,
reason must teach us to manage our estate and our confidence, while
Nature should have given us goodness and valour.

366.–However we distrust the sincerity of those whom we talk with, we
always believe them more sincere with us than with others.

367.–There are few virtuous women who are not tired of their part.

[“Every woman is at heart a rake.”–Pope. Moral Essays, ii.]

368.–The greater number of good women are like concealed treasures,
safe as no one has searched for them.

369.–The violences we put upon ourselves to escape love are often more
cruel than the cruelty of those we love.

370.–There are not many cowards who know the whole of their fear.

371.–It is generally the fault of the loved one not to perceive when
love ceases.

372.–Most young people think they are natural when they are only
boorish and rude.

373.–Some tears after having deceived others deceive ourselves.

374.–If we think we love a woman for love of herself we are greatly
deceived.

375.–Ordinary men commonly condemn what is beyond them.

376.–Envy is destroyed by true friendship, flirtation by true love.

377.–The greatest mistake of penetration is not to have fallen short,
but to have gone too far.

378.–We may bestow advice, but we cannot inspire the conduct.

379.–As our merit declines so also does our taste.

380.–Fortune makes visible our virtues or our vices, as light does
objects.

381.–The struggle we undergo to remain faithful to one we love is
little better than infidelity.

382.–Our actions are like the rhymed ends of blank verses (Bouts-Rimés)
where to each one puts what construction he pleases.

[The Bouts-Rimés was a literary game popular in the 17th and 18th
centuries–the rhymed words at the end of a line being given for others
to fill up. Thus Horace Walpole being given, “brook, why, crook, I,”
returned the burlesque verse– “I sits with my toes in a Brook, And
if any one axes me Why? I gies ’em a rap with my Crook, ‘Tis constancy
makes me, ses I.”]

383.–The desire of talking about ourselves, and of putting our
faults in the light we wish them to be seen, forms a great part of our
sincerity.

384.–We should only be astonished at still being able to be astonished.

385.–It is equally as difficult to be contented when one has too much
or too little love.

386.–No people are more often wrong than those who will not allow
themselves to be wrong.

387.–A fool has not stuff in him to be good.

388.–If vanity does not overthrow all virtues, at least she makes them
totter.

389.–What makes the vanity of others unsupportable is that it wounds
our own.

390.–We give up more easily our interest than our taste.

391.–Fortune appears so blind to none as to those to whom she has done
no good.

392.–We should manage fortune like our health, enjoy it when it is
good, be patient when it is bad, and never resort to strong remedies but
in an extremity.

393.–Awkwardness sometimes disappears in the camp, never in the court.

394.–A man is often more clever than one other, but not than all
others.

[“Singuli decipere ac decipi possunt, nemo omnes, omnes neminem
fefellerunt.”–Pliny{ the Younger, Panegyricus, LXII}.]

395.–We are often less unhappy at being deceived by one we loved, than
on being deceived.

396.–We keep our first lover for a long time–if we do not get a
second.

397.–We have not the courage to say generally that we have no faults,
and that our enemies have no good qualities; but in fact we are not far
from believing so.

398.–Of all our faults that which we most readily admit is idleness: we
believe that it makes all virtues ineffectual, and that without utterly
destroying, it at least suspends their operation.

399.–There is a kind of greatness which does not depend upon fortune:
it is a certain manner what distinguishes us, and which seems to destine
us for great things; it is the value we insensibly set upon ourselves;
it is by this quality that we gain the deference of other men, and it is
this which commonly raises us more above them, than birth, rank, or even
merit itself.