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Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Saint Jerome (ca. 34730 September 420), full name Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus, is best known as the translator of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. Jerome's edition, the Vulgate, is still the official biblical text of the Roman Catholic Church. He is canonized in all Christianity and recognized by the Vatican as a Doctor of the Church.


  • A friend is long sought, hardly found, and with difficulty kept.
    • Letter 1.
  • Love is not to be purchased, and affection has no price.
    • Letter 3.
  • The friendship that can cease has never been real.
    • Letter 3.
  • It is easier to mend neglect than to quicken love.
    • Letter 7.
  • No athlete is crowned but in the sweat of his brow.
    • Letter 14.
  • If there is but little water in the stream, it is the fault, not of the channel, but of the source.
    • Letter 17.
  • It is idle to play the lyre for an ass.
    • Letter 27.
  • Everything must have in it a sharp seasoning of truth.
    • Letter 31.
  • While truth is always bitter, pleasantness waits upon evildoing.
    • Letter 40.
  • The line, often adopted by strong men in controversy, of justifying the means by the end.
    • Letter 48.
  • Do not let your deeds belie your words, lest when you speak in church someone may say to himself, "Why do you not practice what you preach?"
    • Letter 52.
  • No one cares to speak to an unwilling listener. An arrow never lodges in a stone: often it recoils upon the sender of it.
    • Letter 52.
  • That clergyman soon becomes an object of contempt who being often asked out to dinner never refuses to go.
    • Letter 52.
  • Negotiatorem clericum, et ex inope divitem, ex ignobili gloriosum quasi quandam pestem fuge.
    • Translation: A clergyman who engages in business, and who rises from poverty to wealth, and from obscurity to a high position, avoid as you would the plague.
    • Letter 52.
  • It is worse still to be ignorant of your ignorance.
    • Letter 53.
  • Even brute beasts and wandering birds do not fall into the same traps or nets twice.
    • Letter 54.
  • Sometimes the character of the mistress is inferred from the dress of her maids.
    • Letter 54.
  • When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting.
    • Letter 58.
  • Small minds can never handle great themes.
    • Letter 60.
  • Every day we are changing, every day we are dying, and yet we fancy ourselves eternal.
    • Letter 60.
  • Early impressions are hard to eradicate from the mind. When once wool has been dyed purple, who can restore it to its previous whiteness?
    • Letter 107.
  • Let your daughter have first of all the book of Psalms for holiness of heart, and be instructed in the Proverbs of Solomon for her godly life.
    • Letter 107.
  • The tired ox treads with a firmer step.
    • Letter 112.
  • Athletes as a rule are stronger than their backers; yet the weaker presses the stronger to put forth all his efforts.
    • Letter 118.
  • Audio religiosam habere te matrem, multorum annorum viduam, quae aluit, quae erudivit infantem et post studia Galliarum, quae vel florentissima sunt, misit Romam non parcens sumptibus et absentiam filii spe sustinens futurorum, ut ubertatem Gallici nitoremque sermonis gravitas Romana condiret nec calcaribus in te sed frenis uteretur, quod et in disertissimis viris Graeciae legimus, qui Asianum tumorem Attico siccabat sale et luxuriantes flagellis vineas falcibus reprimebant, ut eloquentiae toreularia non verborum pampinis, sed sensuum quasi uvarum expressionibus redundarent.
    • I am told that your mother is a religious woman, a widow of many years' standing; and that when you were a child she reared and taught you herself. Afterwards when you had spent some time in the flourishing schools of Gaul she sent you to Rome, sparing no expense and consoling herself for your absence by the thought of the future that lay before you. She hoped to see the exuberance and glitter of your Gallic eloquence toned down by Roman sobriety, for she saw that you required the rein more than the spur. So we are told of the greatest orators of Greece that they seasoned the bombast of Asia with the salt of Athens and pruned their vines when they grew too fast. For they wished to fill the wine-press of eloquence not with the tendrils of mere words but with the rich grape-juice of good sense.
    • Letter 125 (Ad Rusticum Monachum).
  • It is no fault of Christianity that a hypocrite falls into sin.
    • Letter 125.
  • The charges we bring against others often come home to ourselves; we inveigh against faults which are as much ours as theirs; and so our eloquence ends by telling against ourselves.
    • Letter 125.
  • Neither Britain, a province fertile in tyrants, nor the people of Ireland, knew Moses and the prophets.
    • Letter 133.
  • A dreadful rumor reached us from the West. We heard that Rome was besieged, that the citizens were buying their safety with gold, and that when they had been thus despoiled they were again beleaguered, so as to lose not only their substance but their lives. ...The speaker's voice failed and sobs interrupted his utterance. The city which had taken the whole world was itself taken; nay, it fell by famine before it fell by the sword, and there were but few to be found to be made prisoner.
    • Letter to Lady Principia (412) bewailing the sack of Rome by the Visigoths Aug 24, 410; as quoted by John Freely in Before Galileo: The Birth of Modern Science in Medieval Europe (2012).
  • Privilegia paucorum non faciunt legem.
    • Translation: The privileges of a few do not make common law.
    • Exposition on Jona.
  • Noli equi dentes inspicere donati.

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