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A fool's heart is in his tongue; but a wise man's tongue is in his heart.
A promise is a child of the understanding and the will; the understanding begets it, the will brings it forth. He that performs delivers the mother; he that breaks it murders the child. If he be begotten in the absence of the understanding it is a bastard, but the child must be kept. If thou mistrust thy understanding, promise not; if thou hast promised, break it not: it is better to maintain a bastard than to murder a child.
Abused patience turns to fury.
Afflictions clarify the soul;
And like hard masters, give more hard directions,
Tutoring the non-age of uncurbed affections.
And he repents in thorns that sleeps in beds of roses.
As there is no worldly gain without some loss, so there is no worldly loss without some gain. If thou hast lost thy wealth, thou hast lost some trouble with it: if thou art degraded from thy honor, thou art likewise freed from the stroke of envy; if sickness hath blurred thy beauty, it hath delivered thee from pride. Set the allowance against the loss, and thou shalt find no loss great; he loses little or nothing that reserves himself.
Be as far from desiring the popular love as fearful to deserve the popular hate; ruin dwells in both: the one will hug thee to death; the other will crush thee to destruction: to escape the first, be not ambitious; to avoid the second, be not seditious.
Be neither too early in the fashion, nor too long out of it, nor too precisely in it; what custom hath civilized is become decent, till then ridiculous; where the eye is the jury thy apparel is the evidence.
Be not too great a niggard in the commendations of him that professes thy own quality: if he deserve thy praise, thou hast discovered thy judgment; if not, thy modesty: honor either returns or reflects to the giver.
Be not too rash in the breaking of an inconvenient custom; as it was gotten, so leave it by degrees. Danger attends upon too sudden alterations; he that pulls down a bad building by the great may be ruined by the fall, but he that takes it down brick by brick may live to build a better.
Be not too slow in the breaking of a sinful custom; a quick, courageous resolution is better than a gradual deliberation; in such a combat he is the bravest soldier that lays about him without fear or wit. Wit pleads, fear disheartens; he that would kill Hydra had better strike off one neck than five heads: fell the tree, and the branches are soon cut off.
Be very circumspect in the choice of thy company. In the society of thine equals thou shalt enjoy more pleasure; in the society of thy superiors thou shalt find more profit. To be the best in the company is the way to grow worse; the best means to grow better is to be the worst there.
Be very vigilant over thy child in the April of his understanding, lest the frost of May nip his blossoms. While he is a tender twig, straighten him; whilst he is a new vessel, season him; such as thou makest him, such commonly shall thou find him. Let his first lesson be obedience and his second shall be what thou wilt.
Before thou reprehend another, take heed thou art not culpable in what thou goest about to reprehend. He that cleanses a blot with blotted fingers makes a greater blur.
Before thy undertaking of any design, weigh the glory of thy action with the danger of the attempt; if the glory outweigh the danger, it is cowardice to neglect it; if the danger exceed the glory, it is rashness to attempt it; if the balances stand poised, let thy own genius cast them.
Beware of drunkenness, lest all good men beware of thee; where drunkenness reigns, there reason is an exile, virtue a stranger, God an enemy; blasphemy is wit, oaths are rhetoric, and secrets are proclamations.
Blessedness is promised to the peacemaker, not to the conqueror.
Charity feeds the poor, so does pride; charity builds an hospital, so does pride. In this they differ: charity gives her glory to God; pride takes her glory from man.
Close thine ear against him that shall open his mouth secretly against another; if thou receive not his words, they fly back and wound the reporter; if thou receive them, they flee forward and wound the receiver.
Deliberate long before thou consecrate a friend, and when thy impartial justice concludes him worthy of thy bosom, receive him joyfully, and entertain him wisely; impart thy secrets boldly, and mingle thy thoughts with his: he is thy very self; and use him so; if thou firmly think him faithful, thou makest him so.
Demean thyself more warily in thy study than in the street. If thy public actions have a hundred witnesses, thy private have a thousand. The multitude looks but upon thy actions; thy conscience looks into them: the multitude may chance to excuse thee, if not acquit thee; thy conscience will accuse thee, if not condemn thee.
Diogenes found more rest in his tub than Alexander on his throne.
Every man's vanity ought to be his greatest shame; and every man's folly ought to be his greatest secret.
Fear nothing but what thy industry may prevent; be confident of nothing but what fortune cannot defeat; it is no less folly to fear what is impossible to be avoided than to be secure when there is a possibility to be deprived.
Flatter not thyself in thy faith to God, if thou wantest charity for thy neighbor; and think not thou halt charity for thy neighbor, if thou wantest faith to God; where they are not both together, they are both wanting; they are both dead, if once divided.
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