Francois De La Rochefoucauld Quotes


Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) was a French writer and moralist known for his pithy maxims and observations on human nature. Born into an aristocratic family, La Rochefoucauld served in the military before turning to literature. His most famous work, “Maxims,” was first published in 1665 and is a collection of over 500 aphorisms that reflect his cynical view of human behavior. La Rochefoucauld’s writings were highly influential in the development of French literature and philosophy, and his maxims continue to be widely quoted today.

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Famous Francois de La Rochefoucauld Quotes

1. “The only thing constant in life is change.”

2. “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”

To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art. - Francois de La Rochefoucauld

3. “Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.”

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4. “Hope is the last thing that dies in man.”

5. “We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.”

6. “Mediocre minds usually dismiss anything which reaches beyond their own understanding.”

7. “To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.”

8. “True love is like ghosts, which everybody talks about and few have seen.”

9. “The only security is courage.”

10. “We should not be upset that others hide the truth from us, when we hide it so often from ourselves.”

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11. “There are some people who would never have fallen in love if they had not heard there was such a thing.”

12. “You are never so easily fooled as when trying to fool someone else.”

13. “No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”

14. “We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears.”

15. “It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.”

16. “As we grow older we grow both more foolish and wiser at the same time.”

17. “If we are incapable of finding peace in ourselves, it is pointless to search elsewhere.”

18. “We rarely think people have good sense unless they agree with us.”

19. “Nothing is rarer than real goodness.”

20. “Nothing is so contagious as example.”

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21. “Most of our faults are more pardonable than the means we use to conceal them.”

22. “We are never so generous as when giving advice.”

23. “The strongest symptom of wisdom in man is his being sensible of his own follies.”

The strongest symptom of wisdom in man is his being sensible of his own follies. - Francois de la Rochefoucauld

24. “We think very few people sensible, except those who are of our opinion.”

25. “Humility is the worst form of conceit.”

26. “Sincerity is an openness of heart; we find it in very few people; what we usually see is only an artful dissimulation to win the confidence of others.”

27. “Self-interest makes some people blind, and others sharp-sighted.”

28. “One cannot answer for his courage when he has never been in danger.”

29. “Our minds are lazier than our bodies.”

30. “We forgive so long as we love.”

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31. “Old age is a tyrant, who forbids, under pain of death, the pleasures of youth.”

32. “A well-trained mind has less difficulty in submitting to than in guiding an ill-trained mind.”

33. “Why can we remember the tiniest detail that has happened to us, and not remember how many times we have told it to the same person.”

34. “Man only blames himself in order that he may be praised.”

35. “The duration of our passions is no more dependent on ourselves than the duration of our lives.”

36. “The passions are the only orators that always persuade: they are, as it were, a natural art, the rules of which are infallible; and the simplest man with passion is more persuasive than the most eloquent without it.”

37. “We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves.”

38. “Weak people cannot be sincere.”

39. “There is only one kind of love, but there are a thousand imitations.”

40. “It is no tragedy to do ungrateful people favors, but it is unbearable to be indebted to a scoundrel.”

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41. “Jealousy is always born with love, but does not die with it. In jealousy there is more of self-love than of love to another.”

42. “How can we expect another to keep our secret if we have been unable to keep it ourselves?”

43. “It requires greater virtues to support good fortune than bad.”

It requires greater virtues to support good fortune than bad. - Francois de La Rochefoucauld

44. “The old begin to complain of the conduct of the young when they themselves are no longer able to set a bad example.”

45. “Most men, like plants, possess hidden qualities which chance discovers.”

46. “The sure way to be cheated is to think one’s self more cunning than others.”

47. “Whatever ignominy or disgrace we have incurred, it is almost always in our power to reestablish our reputation.”

48. “The more we love, the nearer we are to hate.”

49. “There are bad people who would be less dangerous if they were quite devoid of goodness.”

50. “Perfect Valor is to do, without a witness, all that we could do before the whole world.”

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51. “The best way to rise in society is to use all possible means of persuading people that one has already risen in society.”

52. “Some weak people are so sensible of their weakness as to be able to make a good use of it.”

53. “Hatred is stronger than friendship.”

54. “We never desire strongly, what we desire rationally.”

55. “Strength and weakness of mind are misnomers; they are really nothing but the good or bad health of our bodily organs.”

56. “We are very far from always knowing our own wishes.”

57. “To achieve greatness one should live as if they will never die.”

58. “The greatest of all gifts is the power to estimate things at their true worth.”

59. “Marriage is the only war in which you sleep with the enemy.”

60. “We are never so happy, nor so unhappy, as we suppose ourselves to be.”

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61. “Loyalty is in most people only a ruse used by self-interest to attract confidence.”

Loyalty is in most people only a ruse used by self-interest to attract confidence. - Francois de la Rochefoucauld

62. “None deserve praise for being good who have not the spirit to be bad: goodness, for the most part, is nothing but indolence or weakness of will.”

63. “Death and the sun are not to be looked at steadily.”

64. “Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.”

65. “To know how to hide one’s ability is great skill.”

66. “Sometimes in life situations develop that only the half-crazy can get out of.”

67. “One forgives to the degree that one loves.”

68. “True bravery is shown by performing without witness what one might be capable of doing before all the world.”

69. “We only confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no big ones.”

70. “The accent of one’s birthplace remains in the mind and in the heart as in one’s speech.”

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71. “Humility is often only a feigned submissiveness by which men hope to bring other people to submit to them; it is a more calculated sort of pride.”

72. “Nature seems at each man’s birth to have marked out the bounds of his virtues and vices, and to have determined how good or how wicked that man shall be capable of being.”

73. “Sometimes we think we dislike flattery, but it is only the way it is done that we dislike.”

74. “Women find it far more difficult to overcome their inclination to coquetry than to overcome their love.”

75. “A man’s happiness or unhappiness depends as much on his temperament as on his destiny.”

76. “Before we passionately desire a thing, we should examine the happiness of its possessor.”

77. “When we disclaim praise, it is only showing our desire to be praised a second time.”

78. “One thing which makes us find so few people who appear reasonable and agreeable in conversation is, that there is scarcely any one who does not think more of what he is about to say than of answering precisely what is said to him.”

79. “A fashionable woman is always in love – with herself.”

80. “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.”

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81. “Narrow minds think nothing right that is above their own capacity.”

82. “We have more ability than will power, and it is often an excuse to ourselves that we imagine that things are impossible.”

83. “As one grows older, one becomes wiser and more foolish.”

As one grows older, one becomes wiser and more foolish. -Francois de La Rochefoucauld

84. “In the misfortunes of our best friends we always find something not altogether displeasing to us.”

85. “True eloquence consists in saying all that should be said, and that only.”

86. “Happiness does not consist in things themselves but in the relish we have of them; and a man has attained it when he enjoys what he loves and desires himself, and not what other people think lovely and desirable.”

87. “Youth is a perpetual intoxication; it is a fever of the mind.”

88. “How deceitful hope may be, yet she carries us on pleasantly to the end of life.”

89. “Weakness of character is the only defect which cannot be amended.”

90. “A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire.”

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91. “The world more often rewards the appearances of merit than merit itself.”

92. “Passion makes idiots of the cleverest men, and makes the biggest idiots clever.”

93. “Moderation is represented as a virtue in order to restrain the ambition of great men, and to console those of a meaner condition in their lesser merit and fortune.”

94. “He who lives without folly isn’t so wise as he thinks.”

95. “Happiness is in the taste, and not in the things themselves; we are happy from possessing what we like, not from possessing what others like.”

96. “It is the habit of mediocre minds to condemn all that is beyond their grasp.”

97. “The principal point of cleverness is to know how to value things just as they deserve.”

98. “What makes lovers never tire of one another is that they talk always about themselves.”

99. “Coquetry is the essential characteristic, and the prevalent humor of women; but they do not all practice it, because the coquetry of some is restrained by fear or by reason.”

100. “Luxury and excessive refinement are sure forerunners of the decadence of states, because when all individuals seek their own interests they neglect the public weal.”

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