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DISCRETION
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[ Also see Care Carefulness Caution Common Sense Conservatism Consideration Discernment Foresight Indiscretion Intelligence Judgment Policy Prudence Reflection Self-control Sense Tact Thought Wisdom ]

Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life; cunning is a kind of instinct, that only looks out after our immediate interests and welfare. Discretion is only found in men of strong sense and good understanding; cunning is often to be met with in brutes themselves, and in persons who are but the fewest removes from them.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

What is denominated discretion in man we call cunning in brutes.
      - Jean de la Fontaine

Perish discretion when it interferes with duty.
      - Hannah More

Partake of love as a temperate man partakes of wine; do not become intoxicated.
      - Louis Charles Alfred de Musset

Some delicate matters must be treated like pins, because if they are not seized by the right end, we get pricked.
      - Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn

Discretion in speech is more than eloquence.
      - Proverb, (English)

Jest not openly at those that are simple, but remember how much thou art bound to God, who hath made thee wiser. Defame not any woman publicly, though thou know her to be evil; for those that are faulty cannot endure to be taxed, but will seek to be avenged of thee; and those that are not guilty cannot endure unjust reproach.
      - Sir Walter Raleigh (1)

Remember the divine saying, He that keepeth his Mouth, keepeth his life.
      - Sir Walter Raleigh (1)

To make another person hold his tongue, be you first silent.
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

Let your own discretion be your tutor; suit the action to the word, the word to the action.
      - William Shakespeare

You are old;
  Nature in you stands on the very verge
    Of her confine: you should be ruled and led
      By some discretion, that discerns your state
        Better than you yourself.
      - William Shakespeare

Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at III, ii)

The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have saved my life.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Fourth, Part I
         (Falstaff at V, iv)

I have seen the day of wrong through the little hole of discretion, and I will right myself like a soldier.
      - William Shakespeare, Love's Labor's Lost
         (Armado at V, ii)

Let's teach ourselves that honorable stop,
  Not to outsport discretion.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Othello the Moor of Venice
         (Othello at II, iii)

Question your grace the late ambassadors,
  With what great state he heard their embassy,
    How well supplied with noble counsellors,
      How modest in exception, and withal
        How terrible in constant resolution,
          And you shall find his vanities forespent
            Were but the outside of the Roman Brutus,
              Covering discretion with a coat of folly;
                As gardeners do with ordure hide those roots
                  That shall first spring and be most delicate.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of King Henry the Fifth
         (Constable at II, iv)

Nay, but do so then; and look you, he may come and go between you both; and in any case have a nay-word, that you may know one another's mind, and the boy never need to understand anything; for 'tis not good that children should know any wickedness. Old folks, you know, have discretion, as they say, and know the world.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Merry Wives of Windsor
         (Mistress Quickly at II, ii)

There are three things in speech that ought to be considered before some things are spoken--the manner, the place and the time.
      - Robert Southey

Had Windham possessed discretion in debate, or Sheridan in conduct, they might have ruled their age.
      - Jonathan Swift

There is no talent so useful toward rising in the world, or which puts men more out of the reach of fortune, than that quality generally possessed by the dullest sort of men, and in common speech called discretion; a species of lower prudence, by the assistance of which, people of the meanest intellectuals, without any other qualification, pass through the world in great tranquillity, and with universal good treatment, neither giving nor taking offence.
      - Jonathan Swift,
        Essay on the Fate of Clergymen

Open your purse and your mouth cautiously; and your stock of wealth and reputation shall, at least in repute, be great.
      - Johann Georg von Zimmermann


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