Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield Quotes
Abject flattery and indiscriminate assentation degrade, as much as indiscriminate contradiction and noisy debate disgust. But a modest assertion of one’s own opinion, and a complaisant acquiescence in other people’s, preserve dignity.
A proper secrecy is the only mystery of able men; mystery is the only secrecy of weak and cunning ones.
Every woman is infallibly to be gained by every sort of flattery, and every man by one sort or other.
In short, let it be your maxim through life, to know all you can know, yourself; and never to trust implicitly to the informations of others.
I really know nothing more criminal, more mean, and more ridiculous than lying. It is the production either of malice, cowardice, or vanity; and generally misses of its aim in every one of these views; for lies are always detected, sooner or later.
It is commonly said, and more particularly by Lord Shaftesbury, that ridicule is the best test of truth.
Never seem wiser, nor more learned, than the people you are with. Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it; merely to show that you have one.
No man tastes pleasures truly, who does not earn them by previous business; and few people do business well, who do nothing else.
Our conjectures pass upon us for truths; we will know what we do not know, and often, what we cannot know: so mortifying to our pride is the base suspicion of ignorance.
The characteristic of a well-bred man is, to converse with his inferiors without insolence, and with his superiors with respect and with ease.
The reputation of generosity is to be purchased pretty cheap; it does not depend so much upon a man’s general expense, as it does upon his giving handsomely where it is proper to give at all. A man, for instance, who should give a servant four shillings, would pass for covetous, while he who gave him a crown, would be reckoned generous; so that the difference of those two opposite characters, turns upon one shilling.
There is time enough for everything, in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once; but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.
The world is a country which nobody ever yet knew by description; one must travel through it one's self to be acquainted with it.
We must not suppose that, because a man is a rational animal, he will, therefore, always act rationally; or, because he has such or such a predominant passion, that he will act invariably and consequentially in pursuit of it. No, we are complicated machines; and though we have one main spring that gives motion to the whole, we have an infinity of little wheels, which, in their turns, retard, precipitate, and sometime stop that motion.
Women are much more like each other than men: they have, in truth, but two passions, vanity and love; these are their universal characteristics.