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Lord Chesterfield Quotes


Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield was a British statesman and man of letters.
(1694 - 1773)

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A cheerful, easy, open countenance will make fools think you a good-natured man, and make designing men think you an undesigning one.
 

A joker is near akin to a buffoon; and neither of them is the least related to wit.
 

A judicious reticence is hard to learn, but it is one of the great lessons of life.
[Silence]
 

A letter shows the man it is written to as well as the man it is written by.
 

A light supper, a good night's sleep, and a fine morning have often made a hero of the same man who, by indigestion, a restless night, and a rainy morning, would have proved a coward.
[Heroism]
 

A man of sense only trifles with them, plays with them, humors and flatters them, as he does with a sprightly and forward child; but he neither consults them about, nor trusts them with, serious matters.
 

A man of the best parts and greatest learning, if he does not know the world by his own experience and observation, will be very absurd, and consequently very unwelcome in company. He may say very good things; but they will be probably so ill-timed, misplaced, or improperly addressed, that he had much better hold his tongue.
[Learning]
 

A man who cannot command his temper should not think of being a man of business.
[Temper]
 

A man who owes a little can clear it off in a little time, and, if he is prudent, he will: whereas a man, who, by long negligence, owes a great deal, despairs of ever being able to pay, and therefore never looks into his accounts at all.
[Debt]
 

A man's fortune is frequently decided by his first address. If pleasing, others at once conclude he has merit; but if ungraceful, they decide against him.
[Manners]
 

A man's own good-breeding is the best security against other people's ill-manners. It carries along with it a dignity that is respected by the most petulant. Ill-breeding invites and authorizes the familiarity of the most timid. No man ever said a pert thing to the Duke of Marlborough. No man ever said a civil one to Sir Robert Walpole.
[Manners]
 

A novel must be exceptionally good to live as long as the average cat.
 

A proper secrecy is the only mystery of able men; mystery is the only secrecy of weak and cunning ones.
[Mystery]
 

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

A wise man will live as much within his wit as within his income.
 

Adorn yourself with all those graces and accomplishments which, without solidity, are frivolous; but without which, solidity is to a great degree useless.
[Manners]
 

Advice is seldom welcome; and those who want it the most always like it the least.
[Advice]
 

Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.
[Aims]
 

All ceremonies are, in themselves, very silly things; but yet a man of the world should know them. - They are the outworks of manners and decency, which would too often be broken in upon, if it were not for that defence which keeps the enemy at a proper distance.
[Ceremony]
 

Almost all men are born with every passion to some extent, but there is hardly a man who has not a dominant passion to which the others are subordinate. Discover this governing passion in every individual; and when you have found the master passion of a man, remember never to trust to him where that passion is concerned.
[Passion]
 


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