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

Young men think old men fools, and old men know young men to be so.
      - Dr. Samuel L. Metcalf,
        quoted by William Camden as a saying of Dr. Metcalf's

Women are charged with a fondness for nonsense and frivolity. Did not Talleyrand say, "I find nonsense singularly refreshing"?
      - Louis Charles Alfred de Musset

How much folly there is in human affairs.
  [Lat., Quantum est in rebus inane!]
      - Persius (Aulus Persius Flaccus), Satires
         (I, 1)

An old doting fool, with one foot already in the grave.
      - Plutarch,
        Morals--On the Training of Children

So by false learning is food sense defac'd;
  Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools,
    And some made coxcombs Nature meant but fools.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (pt. I, l. 25)

We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;
  Our wiser sons, no doubt, will think us so.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (pt. II, l. 438)

For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (pt. III, l. 66)

The fool is happy that he knows no more.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Man
         (ep. II, l. 264)

Whether the charmer sinner it, or saint it,
  If folly grow romantic, I must paint it.
      - Alexander Pope, Moral Essays
         (ep. II, l. 15)

Die and endow a college or a cat.
      - Alexander Pope, Moral Essays
         (ep. III, To Bathurst, l. 96)

No creature smarts so little as a fool.
      - Alexander Pope, Prologue to Satires
         (l. 84)

Leave such to trifle with more grace and ease,
  Whom Folly pleases, and whose Follies please.
      - Alexander Pope, Second Book of Horace
         (ep. II, l. 326)

The rest on outside merit but presume,
  Or serve (like other fools) to fill a room.
      - Alexander Pope, The Dunciad
         (bk. I, l. 136)

Those who wish to appear wise among fools, among the wise seem foolish.
  [Lat., Qui stultis videri eruditi volunt, stulti eruditis videntur.]
      - Quintilian (Marcus Fabius Quintilianus) X, 7, 22

After a man has sown his wild oats in the years of his youth, he has still every year to get over a few weeks and days of folly.
      - Jean Paul Friedrich Richter (Johann Paul Richter) (used ps. Jean Paul),
        Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces
         (bk. II, ch. V)

He is a fool who looks at the fruit of lofty trees, but does not measure their height.
  [Lat., Stultus est qui fructus magnarum arborum spectat, altitudinem non metitur.]
      - Quintus Curtius Rufus (Curtis Rufus Quintus),
        De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni (VII, 8)

Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.
      - George Santayana

It is the part of a fool to say, I should not have thought.
  [Lat., Insipientis est dicere, Non putarum.]
      - Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major

Where lives the man that has not tried,
  How mirth can into folly glide,
    And folly into sin!
      - Sir Walter Scott, The Bridal of Triermain
         (canto I, st. 21)

Among other evils folly has also this, that it is always beginning to live.
  [Lat., Inter caetera mala hoc quoque habet
    Stultitia semper incipit vivere.]
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca),
        Epistoloe Ad Lucilium (13)

Sir, for a cardecue he will sell the fee simple of his salvation, the inheritance of it, and cut th' entail from all remainders, and a perpetual succession for it perpetually.
      - William Shakespeare,
        All's Well That Ends Well
         (Parolles at IV, iii)

A fool, a fool! I met a fool i' th' forest,
  A motley fool! a miserable world!
    As I do live by food, I met a fool
      Who laid him down and basked him in the sun
        And railed on Lady Fortune in good terms,
          In good set terms, and yet a motley fool.
      - William Shakespeare, As You Like It
         (Jaques at II, vii)

O noble fool,
  A worth fool! Motley's the only wear.
      - William Shakespeare, As You Like It
         (Jaques at II, vii)

I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad: and to travel for it too.
      - William Shakespeare, As You Like It
         (Rosalind at IV, i)

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
      - William Shakespeare, As You Like It
         (Touchstone at V, i)

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