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

Fools are not mad folks.
      - William Shakespeare, Cymbeline
         (Imogen at II, iii)

Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool nowhere but in's own house.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at III, i)

Well, thus we play the fools with the time, and the spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Fourth, Part II
         (Prince Henry at II, iii)

How ill white hairs become a fool and jester!
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Fourth, Part II
         (King Henry at V, v)

To wisdom he's a fool that will not yield;
  And since Lord Helicane enjoineth us,
    We with our travels will endeavor it.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Pericles Prince of Tyre
         (First Lord at II, iv)

A fool's bolt is soon shot.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of King Henry the Fifth
         (Orleans at III, vii)

The fool hath planted in this memory
  An army of good words; and I do know
    A many fools that stand in better place,
      Garnished like him, that for a tricksy word
        Defy the matter.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Merchant of Venice
         (Lorenzo at III, v)   BUY VARYING HARE USED BOOK  

I hold him but a fool that will endanger
  His body for a girl that loves him not.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Two Gentlemen of Verona
         (Thurio at V, iv)

Swear his thought over
  By each particular star in heaven and
    By all their influences, you may as well
      Forbid the sea for to obey the moon
        As or by oath remove or counsel shake
          The fabric of his folly, whose foundation
            Is piled upon his faith and will continue
              The standing of his body.
      - William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale
         (Camillo at I, ii)

This fellow is wise enough to play the fool,
  And to do that well craves a kind of wit.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Twelfth Night, or, What You Will
         (Viola at III, i)

Marry, sir, they praise me and make an ass of me. Now my foes tell me plainly I am an ass; so that by my foes, sir, I profit in the knowledge of myself, any by my friends I am abused; so that, conclusions to be as kisses, if your four negatives make your two affirmatives, why then, the worse for my friends, and the better for my foes.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Twelfth Night, or, What You Will
         (Clown at V, i)

Folly is the direct pursuit of happiness and beauty.
      - George Bernard Shaw

'Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
  Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
    'Tis by our follies that so long
      We hold the earth from heaven away.
      - Edward Rowland Sill, The Fool's Prayer

He has spent all his life in letting down empty buckets into empty wells, and he is frittering away his age in trying to draw them up again.
      - Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir
         (vol. I, p. 259)

Men, when their actions succeed not as they would, are always ready to impute the blame thereof to heaven, so as to excuse their own follies.
      - Edmund Spenser

For take thy ballaunce if thou be so wise,
  And weigh the winds that under heaven doth blow;
    Or weigh the light that in the east doth rise;
      Or weigh the thought that from man's mind doth flow.
      - Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene
         (bk. V, canto II, st. 43)

Every man's follies are the caricature resemblances of his wisdom.
      - John Sterling

He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw, inclement summers.
      - Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
         (pt. III, ch. V, Voyage to Laputa)

A fool is he that comes to preach or prate,
  When men with swords their right and wrong debate.
    [It., Chi conta i colpi e la dovuta offesa,
      Mentr' arde la tenzon, misura e pesa?]
      - Torquato Tasso, Gerusalemme (V, 57)

How can you make a fool perceive that he is a fool? Such a personage can no more see his own folly than be can see his own ears.
      - William Makepeace Thackeray

Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain't that a big enough majority in any town?
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
         (ch. 26)

The fool is like those people who think themselves rich with little.
  [Fr., Le sot est comme le peuple, qui se croit riche de peu.]
      - Luc de Clapier de Vauvanargues, Reflexions

He who thinks himself wise, O heavens! is a great fool.
  [Fr., Qui se croit sage, o ciel! est en grand fou.]
      - Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire),
        Le Droit du Seigneur (VI, 1)

Almost all new ideas have a certain aspect of foolishness when they are first produced.
      - Alfred North Whitehead

The greatest men
  May ask a foolish question, now and then.
      - Dr. John Wolcot (Wolcott or Woolcott) (used pseudonym Peter Pindar),
        The Apple Dumpling and the King

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