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TRIFLES
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[ Also see Frivolity Fuss Futility Littleness Trials Usefulness Uselessness Utility ]

Rivers from bubbling springs
  Have rise at first; and great, from abject things.
      - Thomas Middleton

For the maintenance of peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks which forerun cannon-shots.
      - Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I),
        to Czar Alexander at Tilsit

It was possible to live under the regulations established by Sir George [Cockburn], but now we are tortured to death by pin-point wounds.
      - Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I),
        according to Lady Malcolm "Diary of St. Helena"

Men are led by trifles.
      - Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I)

Out of many things a great heap will be formed.
  [Lat., De multis grandis acervus erit.]
      - Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso),
        Remedia Amoris (424)

A trifle consoles us because a trifle upsets us.
      - Blaise Pascal

Little things console us, because little things afflict us.
      - Blaise Pascal

The mind of the greatest man on earth is not so independent of circumstances as not to feel inconvenienced by the merest buzzing noise about him; it does not need the report of a cannon to disturb his thoughts. The creaking of a vane or a pully is quite enough. Do not wonder that he reasons ill just now; a fly is buzzing by his ear; it is quite enough to unfit him for giving good counsel.
      - Blaise Pascal

A little thing comforts us because a little thing afflicts us.
      - Blaise Pascal, Pensees (VI, 25)

Things fit only to give weight to smoke.
      - Persius (Aulus Persius Flaccus)

It is but the littleness of man that seeth no greatness in trifles.
      - Wendell Phillips

As small letters hurt the sight, so do small matters him that is too much intent upon them; they vex and stir up anger, which begets an evil habit in him in reference to greater affairs.
      - Plutarch

At every trifle scorn to take offence;
  That always shows great pride or little sense.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (l. 386)

What dire Offence from am'rous Causes springs,
  What mighty Contests rise from trivial Things.
      - Alexander Pope, Rape of the Lock
         (canto I, l. 1)

Do little things now; so shall big things come to thee by and by asking to be done.
      - Proverb, (Persian)

A grain of sand leads to the fall of a mountain when the moment has come for the mountain to fall.
      - Ernest Renan

Trifles we should not let plague us only, but also gratify us; we should seize not their poison-bags only, but their honey-bags also.
      - Jean Paul Friedrich Richter (Johann Paul Richter) (used ps. Jean Paul)

Trifles render us miserable, but trifles also console us.
      - Romainville

In mortals there is a care for trifles which proceeds from love and conscience, and is most holy; and a care for trifles which comes of idleness and frivolity, and is most base. And so, also, there is a gravity proceeding from thought, which is most noble; and a gravity proceeding from dulness and mere incapability of enjoyment, which is most base.
      - John Ruskin

A little, and a little, collected together become a great deal; the heap in the barn consists of single grains, and drop and drop from an inundation.
      - Moslih Eddin (Muslih-un-Din) Saadi (Sadi)

Man shows his character best in trifles.
      - Arthur Schopenhauer

A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles.
      - William Shakespeare

But Hercules himself must yield to odds;
  And many strokes, though with a little axe,
    Hews down and fells the hardest-timbered oak.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Sixth, Part III
         (Messenger at II, i)

Trifles light as air
  Are to the jealous confirmations strong
    As proofs of holy writ.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Othello the Moor of Venice
         (Iago at III, iii)

Come, gentlemen, we sit too long on trifles
  And waste the time which looks for other revels.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Pericles Prince of Tyre
         (Simonides, King of Pentapolis at II, iii)


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