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Luc de Clapiers Vauvenargues (1715 – 1747)

French moralist, essayist, and miscellaneous writer.
Luc de Clapiers Vauvenargues
There does not exist a man sufficiently intelligent never to be tiresome.
Vauvenargues quotes
Men are not to be judged by what they do not know, but by what they know, and by the manner in which they know it.
La clémence vaut mieux que la justice.

La modération des grands hommes ne borne que leurs vices. La modération des faibles est médiocrité.
Neither the gifts nor the blows of fortune equal those of nature.
The thought of death deceives us; for it causes us to neglect to live.
Luc de Clapiers Vauvenargues
The favorites of fortune or of fame topple from their pedestals before our eyes without diverting us from ambition.
La foi est la consolation des misérables et la terreur des heureux.
You people suffer less from their faults than from the prudence of the old.
Emotion has taught mankind to reason.
Luc de Clapiers Vauvenargues
Are we surprised if a sick man cannot walk, or keep awake, or stand upright? Would it not be more surprising if he was the same man as when he was well? If we have a headache, or have slept badly, we are excused for telling incapable of work, and yet no one suspects us of always being lazy. Shall we deny a dying man the privilege we grant a man with a headache? And dare we assert that the man who lacks courage in his last agony never possessed virtue when he was well.

The generality of men are so bound within the sphere of their circumstances that they have not even the courage to get out of them through their ideas, and if we see a few whom, in a way, speculation over great things makes incapable of mean ones, we find still more with whom the practice of small things takes away the feeling for great ones.
Luc de Clapiers Vauvenargues
8 To accomplish great things we must live as though we had never to die.
Vauvenargues quotes
Is it against justice or reason to love ourselves? And why is self-love always a vice?
It is in our own mind and not in exterior objects that we perceive most things; fools know scarcely anything because they are empty, and their heart is narrow; but great souls find in themselves a number of exterior things; they have no need to read or travel or to listen or to work to discover the highest truths; they have only to delve into themselves and search, if we may say so, their own thoughts.
As soon as an opinion becomes common it is sufficient reason for men to abandon it and to uphold the opposite opinion until that in its turn grows old, and they require to distinguish themselves by other things. Thus if they attain their goal in some art or science, we must expect them soon to cast it aside to acquire some fresh fame, and this is partly the reason why the most splendid ages degenerate so quickly, and, scarcely emerged from barbarism, plunge into it again.
Luc de Clapiers Vauvenargues
When we are convinced of some great truths, and feel our convictions keenly, we must not fear to express it, although others have said it before us. Every thought is new when an author expresses it in a manner peculiar to himself.
No one says in the morning: A day is soon past, let us wait for the night. On the contrary, in the evening we consider what we shall do the next day. We should be very sorry to spend even one day at the mercy of time and bores. … Who can be certain of spending an hour without being bored, if he takes no care to fill even that short period according to his pleasure. Yet what we cannot be certain of for an hour, we sometimes feel assured of for life, and say: “If death is the end of everything, why give ourselves so much trouble? We are extremely foolish to make such a pother about the future”—that is to say, we are extremely foolish not to entrust our destinies to chance, and to provide for the interval which lies between us and death.
Luc de Clapiers Vauvenargues
We are forced to respect the gifts of nature, which study and fortune cannot give.
Those who fear men like laws.

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