Johann Kaspar Lavater
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- Where there is much pretension, much has been borrowed: nature never pretends.
- As quoted in Mental Recreation; or, Select Maxims (1831), p. 234
- The more honesty a man has, the less he affects the air of a saint.
- As quoted in Many Thoughts of Many Minds (1862) edited by Henry Southgate, p. 290
- Act well at the moment, and you have performed a good action to all eternity.
- Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 4
- Happy the heart to whom God has given enough strength and courage to suffer for Him, to find happiness in simplicity and the happiness of others.
- Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 246
- Never tell evil of a man, if you do not know it for certainty, and if you know it for a certainty, then ask yourself, 'Why should I tell it?'
Aphorisms on Man (c. 1788)
- Who in the same given time can produce more than others has vigor; who can produce more and better, has talents; who can produce what none else can, has genius.
- No. 23
- You may tell a man thou art a fiend, but not your nose wants blowing; to him alone who can bear a thing of that kind, you may tell all.
- No. 84
- Say not you know another entirely, till you have divided an inheritance with him.
- No. 157
- Have you ever seen a pedant with a warm heart?
- No. 260
- If you see one cold and vehement at the same time, set him down for a fanatic.
- No. 282
- He who, when called upon to speak a disagreeable truth, tells it boldly and has done is both bolder and milder than he who nibbles in a low voice and never ceases nibbling.
- No. 302
- Him, who incessantly laughs in the street, you may commonly hear grumbling in his closet.
- No. 305
- Let none turn over books, or roam the stars in quest of God, who sees him not in man.
- No. 398
- Trust not him with your secrets, who, when left alone in your room, turns over your papers.
- No. 449
- Neatness begets order; but from order to taste there is the same difference as from taste to genius, or from love to friendship.
- No. 583
- The public seldom forgive twice.
- No. 595
- Venerate four characters: the sanguine who has checked volatility and the rage for pleasure; the choleric who has subdued passion and pride; the phlegmatic emerged from indolence; and the melancholy who has dismissed avarice, suspicion and asperity.
- No. 609
- If you mean to know yourself, interline such of these aphorisms as affect you agreeably in reading, and set a mark to such as left a sense of uneasiness with you; and then show your copy to whom you please.
- No. 643