It is as impossible to translate poetry as it is to translate music.
It is impossible to translate poetry. Can you translate music?
God prefers bad verses recited with a pure heart to the finest verses chanted by the wicked.
I know of nothing more laughable than a doctor who does not die of old age.
We all look for happiness, but without knowing where to find it: like drunkards who look for their house, knowing dimly that they have one.
The biggest reward for a thing well done is to have done it.
May God defend me from my friends: I can defend myself from my enemies.
Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value -- zero.
To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid -- one must also be well-mannered.
It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.
All the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books.
True prayer lies not in asking for a violation of natural law but in the acceptance of natural law as the unchangeable will of God.
It is given to us to calculate, to weigh, to measure, to observe, this is natural philosophy; almost all the rest is chimera.
It is love; love, the comfort of the human species, the preserver of the universe, the soul of all sentient beings, love, tender love.
The effervescence of this fresh wine reveals the true brilliance of the French people.
If you want to know who controls you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize.
God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.
God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh.
God created sex. Priests created marriage.
The infinitely little have a pride infinitely great.
Persistence with patience and prayer pays with profits, prosperity and peace of mind.
I acknowledge that four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what our soul is.
And to every man has been assigned a good and an evil angel; one assisting him and the other annoying him, from his cradle to his coffin.
When man was put into the garden of eden, he was put there with the idea that he should work the land; and this proves that man was not born to be idle.
Ideas are like beards; men do not have them until they grow up.
Wine is the divine juice of September.
Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all.
Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need.
Our labour preserves us from three great evils -- weariness, vice, and want.
I also know that we must cultivate our garden. For when man was put in the Garden of Eden, he was put there ut operaretur eum, to work; which proves that man was not born for rest.
We must cultivate our garden.
The man who leaves money to charity in his will is only giving away what no longer belongs to him.
Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference.
Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous.
Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.
Theological religion is the source of all imaginable follies and disturbances. It is the parent of fanaticism and civil discord; it is the enemy of mankind.
Discord is the great ill of mankind; and tolerance is the only remedy for it.
I advise you to go on living solely to enrage those who are paying your annuities. It is the only pleasure I have left.
The darkness is at its deepest. Just before the sunrise.
Only your friends steal your books.
Despite the enormous quantity of books, how few people read! And if one reads profitably, one would realize how much stupid stuff the vulgar herd is content to swallow every day.
Man is free at the instant he wants to be.
It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster.
I am very fond of truth, but not at all of martyrdom.
The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.
It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge.
If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?
Optimism, said Cacambo, What is that? Alas! replied Candide, It is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.
I know of no great men except those who have rendered great service to the human race.
Writing is the painting of the voice.
I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health.
All men have equal rights to liberty, to their property, and to the protection of the laws.
Judge of a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.
The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.
Men argue. Nature acts.
The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.
Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.
Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.
The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.
Love truth, but pardon error.
Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy: the mad daughter of a wise mother.
Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy the mad daughter of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the earth.
We owe respect to the living; to the dead we owe only truth.
Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.
As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.
In every author let us distinguish the man from his works.
Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.
Whoever serves his country well has no need of ancestors.
Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.
Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare.
Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.
Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.
History should be written as philosophy.
What a heavy burden is a name that has become too famous.
Love has features which pierce all hearts, he wears a bandage which conceals the faults of those beloved. He has wings, he comes quickly and flies away the same.
We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard.
It is the flash which appears, the thunderbolt will follow.
Everything's fine today, that is our illusion.
The world embarrasses me, and I cannot dream that this watch exists and has no watchmaker.
Who serves his country well has no need of ancestors.
The husband who decides to surprise his wife is often very much surprised himself.
The superfluous, a very necessary thing.
He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.
The mouth obeys poorly when the heart murmurs.
Wherever there is a settled society, religion is necessary; the laws cover manifest crimes, and religion covers secret crimes.
Prejudices are what fools use for reason.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
By appreciation, we make excellence in others our own property.
This self-love is the instrument of our preservation; it resembles the provision for the perpetuity of mankind: it is necessary, it is dear to us, it gives us pleasure, and we must conceal it.
Satire lies about literary men while they live and eulogy lies about them when they die.
It is vain for the coward to flee; death follows close behind; it is only by defying it that the brave escape.
The Holy Roman Empire is neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.
This agglomeration which was called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.
I have lived eighty years of life and know nothing for it, but to be resigned and tell myself that flies are born to be eaten by spiders and man to be devoured by sorrow.
The ancients recommended us to sacrifice to the Graces, but Milton sacrificed to the Devil.
We must distinguish between speaking to deceive and being silent to be reserved.
The first step, my son, which one makes in the world, is the one on which depends the rest of our days.
Paradise was made for tender hearts; hell, for loveless hearts.