Reflections Or, Sentences and Moral Maxims

By Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marsillac

16 of 25
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse


*A La Bibliotheque Du Roi, it is difficult at present (June
1871) to assign a name to the magnificent collection of
books in Paris, the property of the nation.

LXVI.–Interest is the soul of self-love, in as much as when the body
deprived of its soul is without sight, feeling or knowledge, without
thought or movement, so self-love, riven so to speak from its interest,
neither sees, nor hears, nor smells, nor moves; thus it is that the same
man who will run over land and sea for his own interest becomes suddenly
paralyzed when engaged for that of others; from this arises that sudden
dulness and, as it were, death, with which we afflict those to whom we
speak of our own matters; from this also their sudden resurrection when
in our narrative we relate something concerning them; from this we find
in our conversations and business that a man becomes dull or bright
just as his own interest is near to him or distant from him. (Letter To
Madame De Sablé, Ms., Fol. 211.)

LXVII.–Why we cry out so much against maxims which lay bare the heart
of man, is because we fear that our own heart shall be laid bare. (Maxim
103, MS., fol. 310.*)

*The reader will recognise in these extracts portions of the
Maxims previously given, sometimes the author has carefully
polished them; at other times the words are identical. Our
numbers will indicate where they are to be found in the
foregoing collection.

LXVIII.–Hope and fear are inseparable. (To Madame De Sablé, Ms., Fol.
222, MAX. 168.)

LXIX.–It is a common thing to hazard life to escape dishonour;
but, when this is done, the actor takes very little pain to make the
enterprise succeed in which he is engaged, and certain it is that they
who hazard their lives to take a city or to conquer a province are
better officers, have more merit, and wider and more useful, views than
they who merely expose themselves to vindicate their honour; it is very
common to find people of the latter class, very rare to find those of
the former. (Letter To M. Esprit, Ms., Fol. 173, MAX. 219.)

da block

Automatic Ad Middle Of Content

LXX.–The taste changes, but the will remains the same. (To Madame De
Sablé, Fol. 223, Max. 252.)

LXXI.–The power which women whom we love have over us is greater than
that which we have over ourselves. (To The Same, Ms., Fol. 211, Max.

LXXII.–That which makes us believe so easily that others have defects
is that we all so easily believe what we wish. (To The Same, Ms., Fol.
223, Max. 397.)

LXXIII.–I am perfectly aware that good sense and fine wit are tedious
to every age, but tastes are not always the same, and what is good
at one time will not seem so at another. This makes me think that few
persons know how to be old. (To The Same, Fol. 202, Max. 423.)

LXXIV.–God has permitted, to punish man for his original sin, that he
should be so fond of his self-love, that he should be tormented by it in
all the actions of his life. (Ms., Fol. 310, Max. 494.)

LXXV.–And so far it seems to me the philosophy of a lacquey can go; I
believe that all gaity in that state of life is very doubtful indeed.
(To Madame De Sablé, Fol. 161, Max. 504.)

[In the maxim cited the author relates how a footman about to be broken
on the wheel danced on the scaffold. He seems to think that in his day
the life of such servants was so miserable that their merriment was very
16 of 25
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

da block

Automatic Ad End Of Content

A customizable subscription slide-in box to promote your newsletter
[mc4wp_form id="128"]