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Lord Chesterfield Quotes


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Frivolous curiosity about trifles, and laborious attention to little objects, which neither require nor deserve a moment's thought, lower a man, who from thence is thought, and not unjustly, incapable of greater matters.
[Mind]
 

Good breeding carries along with it a dignity that is respected by the most petulant. Ill breeding invites and authorizes the familiarity of the most timid.
[Manners]
 

Good humor is the health of the soul, sadness is its poison.
 

Good manners are the settled medium of social, as specie is of commercial, life; returns are equally expected from both; and people will no more advance their civility to a bear than their money to a bankrupt.
[Manners]
 

Good-breeding is the result of much good sense, some good nature, and a little self-denial for the sake of others, and with a view to obtain the same indulgence from them.
[Manners]
 

Great merit, or great failings, will make you respected or despised; but trifles, little attentions, mere nothings, either done or neglected, will make you either liked or disliked in the general run of the world.
[Trifles]
 

Great talents, such as honor, virtue, learning, and parts, are above the generality of the world, who neither possess them themselves, nor judge of them rightly in others; but all people are judges of the lesser talents, such as civility, affability, and an obliging, agreeable address and manner, because they feel the good effects of them, as making society easy and pleasing.
[Talent]
 

He makes people pleased with him by making them first pleased with themselves.
 

Hear one side and you will be in the dark. Hear both and all will be clear.
 

Honest error is to be pitied, not ridiculed.
[Error]
 

How often have I seen the most solid merit and knowledge neglected, unwelcome, and even rejected, while flimsy parts, little knowledge, and less merit, introduced by the Graces, have been received, cherished, and admired!
[Manners]
 

I am very sure that any man of common understanding may, by culture, care, attention, and labor, make himself what- ever he pleases, except a great poet.
[Attention]
 

I do by no means advise you to throw away your time in ransacking, like a dull antiquarian, the minute and unimportant parts of remote and fabulous times. Let blockheads read, what blockheads wrote.
[Antiquity]
 

I find, by experience, that the mind and the body are more than married, for they are most intimately united; and when one suffers, the other sympathizes.
[Mind]
 

I have run the silly rounds of pleasure, and have done with them all. I have enjoyed all the pleasures of the world, and I appraise them at their real worth, which is in truth very low; those who have only seen their outside always overrate them, but I have been behind the scenes, I have seen all the coarse pulleys and dirty ropes which move the gaudy machines, and I have seen and smelt the tallow candles which illuminate the whole decoration, to the astonishment and admiration of the ignorant audience. When I reflect on what I have seen, what I have heard, and what I have done, I can hardly persuade myself that all that frivolous hurry and bustle of pleasure in the world had any reality; but I look upon all that is passed as one of those romantic dreams which opium commonly occasions, and I do by no means desire to repeat the nauseous dose.
[World]
 

I look upon indolence as a sort of suicide; for the man is effectually destroyed, though the appetites of the brute may survive.
[Suicide]
 

I recommend you to take care of the minutes, for the hours will take care of themselves.
[One Day]
 

I sometimes give myself admirable advice, but I am incapable of taking it.
 

Idleness is only the refuge of weak minds, and the holiday of fools.
[Idleness]
 

If a fool knows a secret, he tells it because he is a fool: if a knave knows one, he tells it whenever it is his interest to tell it. But women and young men are very apt to tell what secrets they know, from the vanity of having been trusted. Trust none of these whenever you can help it.
[Secrecy]
 


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