There are three things which the gentleman guards against. In youth, when the physical powers are not yet settled, he guards against lust. When he is strong and the physical powers are full of vigour, he guards against quarrelsomeness. When he is old, and the animal powers are decayed, he guards against covetousness.
Confucius (551-479 BC), The Analects, Book XVI, para. 19
In the life of a man, his time is but a moment, his being an incessant flux, his senses a dim rushlight, his body a prey of worms, his soul an unquiet eddy, his fortune dark, and his fame doubtful. In short, all that is of the body is as coursing waters, all that is of the soul as dreams and vapours; life, a warfare, a brief sojourning in an alien land; and after repute, oblivion.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (2.17)
The gentleman undergoes three changes. Looked at from a distance, he appears stern; when approached, he is mild; when he is heard to speak, his language is firm and decided.”
Confucius (551-479 BC), The Analects, Book XIX, para. 9
The gentleman has a dignified ease without pride. The small man has pride without a dignified ease.
Confucius (551-479 BC), The Analects, Book XII, para. 40
Principles can only lose their vitality when the first impressions from which they derive have sunk into extinction; and it is for you to keep fanning these continually into new flame… You have only to see things once more in the light of your first and earlier vision, and life begins anew.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.2)
How many whose praises used to be sung so loudly are now relegated to oblivion; and how many of the singers themselves have long since passed from our sight!
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.6)
“Human life is a play, assigning us roles we can scarcely fill.”
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), Moral Letters to Lucilius (80.7)
Show me that the good life doesn’t consist in its length, but in its use, and that it is possible – no, entirely to common – for a person who has had a long life to have lived too little.
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), Moral Letters to Lucilius (49.10)
In the constitution of a rational being, I find no virtue implanted for the combating of justice, but I do find self-control implanted for the combating of pleasure.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (8.39)
He that has once done you a Kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.
Benjamin Franklin (1709 – 1790), The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
This is known as the Ben Franklin Effect from Franklin’s note of “an old maxim” in his autobiography.