Daily Archives: August 9, 2007

Item of the Day: Rochefoucault’s Maxims (1749)

Full Title: Moral Maxims: By the Duke de la Roche Foucault. Translated from the French. With notes. London: Printed for A. Millar, opposite Katharine Street, in the Strand, MDCCXLIX.



We can’t bear to be deceived by our Enemies, and betrayed by our Friends; yet are often content to be so served by ourselves.



“Tis as easy to deceive ourselves without our perceiving it, as ’tis difficult to deceive others without their perceiving it.



A Resolution never to deceive exposes a Man to be often deceived.



The Dulness of People is sometimes a sufficient Security against the Attack of an artful Man.

Bion used to say, “Twas no easy Thing to stick soft Cheese on a Hook. Diogen. Laert.



He who imagines he can do without the World deceives himself much; but he who fancies the World can’t do without him is yet more mistaken.



In Love the Deceit almost always outstrips the Distrust.



We are sometimes less unhappy in being deceived by those we love, than in being undeceived.

And we may cry out, with Horace’s Madman,

—–“Pol me occidistis, amici,

Non servatis, ait; cui sic extorta voluptas,

Et demptus per vim mentis gratissimus error.”

You have undone me, ill-judging Friends, in robbing me of such Pleasure; and in depriving me, against my Consent, of so delicious a Deception.



When our Friends have deceived us, we have a Right to be indifferent to their Professions of Friendship; but we ought always to retain a Sensibility for their Misfortunes.






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Filed under 1740's, Eighteenth century, Philosophy, Posted by Caroline Fuchs