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[ Also see Fools Ignorance Indiscretion Invention Merriment Mischief Nonsense Rashness Recklessness Sense Silliness Stupidity Wisdom ]

The solemn fog; significant and budge;
  A fool with judges, amongst fools a judge.
      - William Cowper, Conversation (l. 299)

Defend me, therefore, common sense, say
  From reveries so airy, from the toil
    Of dropping buckets into empty wells,
      And growing old in drawing nothing up.
      - William Cowper, Task (bk. III, l. 187)

Exactness is the sublimity of fools.
  [Fr., L'exactitude est le sublime des sots.]
      - attributed to Bernard de Bovier de Fontenelle,
        who disclaimed it

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
      - Jacques Anatole I. France (Jacques Anatole Thibault)

A fool and a wise man are alike both in the starting-place--their birth, and at the post--their death; only they differ in the race of their lives.
      - Thomas Fuller (1),
        Holy and Profane States--Of Natural Fools
         (maxim IV)

A rational reaction against irrational excesses and vagaries of skepticism may . . . readily degenerate into the rival folly of credulity.
      - Rt. Hon. William Ewart Gladstone,
        Time and Place of Homer (introductory)

The folly of others is ever most ridiculous to those who are themselves most foolish.
      - Oliver Goldsmith

He is a fool
  Who only sees the mischiefs that are past.
      - Homer ("Smyrns of Chios"), The Iliad
         (bk. XVII, l. 39), Bryant's translation

The shame of fools conceals their open wounds.
  [Lat., Stultorum incurata malus pudor ulcera celat.]
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus),
        Epistles (I, 16, 24)

To your folly add bloodshed, and stir the fire with the sword.
  [Lat., Adde cruorem
    Stultitiae, atque ignem gladio scrutare.]
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Satires
         (II, 3, 275)

A man may be as much a fool from the want of sensibility as the want of sense.
      - Mrs. Anna Brownell Jameson,
        Studies--Detached Thoughts (p. 122)

Fears of the brave and follies of the wise.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Vanity of Human Wishes

A fool is one whom simpletons believe to be a man on merit.
  [Fr., Un fat celui que les sots croient un homme de merite.]
      - Jean de la Bruyere, Les Caracteres (XII)

Men of all ages have the same inclinations, over which reason exercises no control. Thus, wherever men are found, there are follies, ay, and the same follies.
      - Jean de la Fontaine

Alas! we see that the small have always suffered for the follies of the great.
  [Fr., Helas! on voit que de tout temps
    Les Petits ont pati des sottises des grands.]
      - Jean de la Fontaine, Fables (II, 4)

This book is not long, one may run over it in an hour; the shortest folly is always the best.
  [Fr., Ce livre n'est pas long, on le voit en une heure;
    La plus courte folie est toujours la meilleure.]
      - la Girandiere,
        Le Recueil des Voyeux Epigrammes

There are certain people fated to be fools; they not only commit follies by choice, but are even constrained to do so by fortune.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

There are follies as catching as contagious disorders.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

Who lives without folly is not so wise as be thinks.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

He who lives without committing any folly is not so wise as he thinks.
  [Fr., Qui vit sans folie n'est pas si sage qu'il croit.]
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld, Maximes

A fool has not material enough to be good.
  [Fr., Un sot n'a pas assez d'etoffe pour etre bon.]
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld, Maximes

Folly consists in the drawing of false conclusions from just principles, by which it is distinguished from madness, which draws just conclusions from false principles.
      - John Locke (1)

The right to be a cussed fool
  Is safe from all devices human,
    It's common (ez a gin'l rule)
      To every critter born of woman.
      - James Russell Lowell, The Biglow Papers
         (second series, no. 7, st. 16)

A fool! my coxcomb for a fool!
      - John Marston, Parasitaster

I have play'd the fool, the gross fool, to believe
  The bosom of a friend will hold a secret
    Mine own could not contain.
      - Philip Massinger, Unnatural Combat
         (act V, sc. 2)

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