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Jean de la Bruyère
1645 - 1696

French lawyer, historian and theologian, author of Les Caractères of which he said that the first fifteen chapters "are preparations for the sixteenth and last, 'Des esprits forts,' in which Atheism is attacked and perhaps overthrown."


Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness.

It is a sad thing when men have neither the wit to speak well, nor the judgement to hold their tongues.

1696 - from Les Caractères
If poverty is the mother of crime, stupidity is its father.

1696 - from Les Caractères
Party loyalty lowers the greatest of men to the petty level of the masses.

1696 - from Les Caractères
Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think.

1696 - from Les Caractères
Liberality consists less in giving a great deal than in gifts well-timed.

If it be usual to be strongly impressed by things that are scarce, why are we so little impressed by virtue?

1696 - from Les Caractères