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Lord Chesterfield

Philip Stanhope Chesterfield, 1694-1773 ,  English statesman & writer
Lord ChesterfieldPhilip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield was a British statesman, man of letters, and wit.
He is chiefly remembered as the author of Letters to His Son and Letters to His Godson—guides to manners, the art of pleasing, and the art of worldly success.

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Marriage is the cure of love, and friendship the cure of marriage.

An injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult.

Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so.

A pleasing figure is a perpetual letter of recommendation.

Honest error is to be pitied not ridiculed.

Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote.

Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.

Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked.

The less one has to do, the less time one finds to do it in.

Prepare yourself for the world, as athletes used to do for their exercises; oil your mind and your manners, to give them the necessary suppleness and flexibility; strength alone will not do.

Distrust all those who love you extremely upon a very slight acquaintance and without any visible reason.

Good humor is the health of the soul, sadness is its poison.

Sex: the pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.

Religion is by no means a proper subject of conversation in a mixed company.

Common sense is the best sense I know of.

Physical ills are the taxes laid upon this wretched life; some are taxed higher, and some lower, but all pay something.

Wrongs are often forgiven, but contempt never is. Our pride remembers it forever.

Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise.

Choose your pleasures for yourself, and do not let them be imposed upon you.

Young men are apt to think themselves wise enough, as drunken men are apt to think themselves sober enough.

You must look into people, as well as at them.

Love has been not unaptly compared to the small-pox, which most people have sooner or later.

We are as often duped by diffidence as by confidence.

If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old.

A weak mind is like a microscope, which magnifies trifling things but cannot receive great ones.

The manner is often as important as the matter, sometimes more so.

All your Greek will never advance you from secretary to envoy, or from envoy to ambassador; but your address, your manner, your air, if good, very probably may.

Idleness is only the refuge of weak minds.

Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give luster, and many more people see than weigh.

Without some dissimulation no business can be carried on at all.

The characteristic of a well-bred man is, to converse with his inferiors without insolence, and with his superiors with respect and with ease.

Speak of the moderns without contempt, and of the ancients without idolatry.

In my mind, there is nothing so illiberal and so ill-bred, as audible laughter.

Advice is seldom welcome; and those who need it the most always like it the least.

I recommend you to take care of the minutes: for hours will take care of themselves.

The young leading the young, is like the blind leading the blind; “they will both fall into the ditch.”

Take the tone of the company you are in.

Do as you would be done by, is the surest method of pleasing.

The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.

Courts and camps are the only places to learn the world in.

Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.

Most people enjoy the inferiority of their best friends.

He [the Duke of Marlborough] could refuse more gracefully than other people could grant.

Personal Stories

I am sure that since I have had the full use of my reason, nobody has ever heard me laugh.


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