If your generosity is good and sincere it may pass unnoticed and it will not save you from being reproached for its opposite. If you want to sustain a reputation for generosity, therefore, you have to be ostentatiously lavish; and a prince acting in that fashion will soon squander all his resources…
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 – 1527), The Prince, chapter 16
When books have all seized up like the book in graveyards
And reading and even speaking have been replaced
By other, less difficult media, we wonder if you
Will find flowers and fruit the same colour and taste
They held for us for whom they were framed in words,
And will your grass be green, your sky be blue,
Or will your birds be always wingless birds?
Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), Poems Selected by Michael Longley
The gentleman desires to be halting in speech but quick in action.
Confucius (551-479 BC), The Analects, Book IV, para 24
The Master is cordial yet stern, awe-inspiring yet not fierce, and respectful yet at ease.
Confucius (551-479 BC), The Analects, Book VII, para 38
The gentleman is easy of mind, while the small man is always full of anxiety.
Confucius (551-479 BC), The Analects, Book VII, para. 37
Fix your thoughts closely on what is being said, and let your mind enter fully into what is being done, and into what is doing it.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.30)
Exile, torture, war, shipwreck … We should set before our eyes the entire range of human fortunes, and calibrate our thoughts about the future not by the usual scale of events but by the magnitude of what could happen. If we wish not to be overwhelmed, stunned by rare occurrences as if they were unparalleled, we must take a comprehensive view of fortune.
… whatever we mortals construct is condemned to be mortal We live amid things that will die. … Let us, therefore, shape our minds to be such as will understand and endure our lot, knowing that fortune shrinks from nothing.
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), Moral Letters to Lucilius (91.8, 91.12, 91.15)
Image: Andrew Munro
Do away with all fancies. Cease to be passion’s puppet. Limit time to the present. Lear to recognise every experience for what it is, whether it be your own or another’s.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.29)
Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.
Ernst Hemingway (1899 – 1961), The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
This quote comes via the irresistible Cultural Offering.
Whatever the world may say or do, my part is to keep myself good; just as a gold piece, or an emerald, or a purple robe insists perpetually, ‘Whatever the world may say or do, my part is to remain an emerald and keep my colour true.’
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.15)