The Greeks possessed a knowledge of human nature we seem hardly able to attain to without passing through the strengthening hibernation of a new barbarism.
Actual aristocracy cannot be abolished by any law: all the law can do is decree how it is to be imparted and who is to acquire it.
Delight at having understood a very abstract and obscure system leads most people to believe in the truth of what it demonstrates.
To receive applause for works which do not demand all our powers hinders our advance towards a perfecting of our spirit. It usually means that thereafter we stand still.
He who is in love with himself has at least this advantage - he won't encounter many rivals.
It is in the gift for employing all the vicissitudes of life to one's own advantage and to that of one's craft that a large part of genius consists.
The pleasures of the imagination are as it were only drawings and models which are played with by poor people who cannot afford the real thing.
Even truth needs to be clad in new garments if it is to appeal to a new age.
Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own.
If you are going to build something in the air it is always better to build castles than houses of cards.
To be content with life or to live merrily, rather all that is required is that we bestow on all things only a fleeting, superficial glance; the more thoughtful we become the more earnest we grow.
To err is human also in so far as animals seldom or never err, or at least only the cleverest of them do so.
A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it an apostle is hardly likely to look out.
The most perfect ape cannot draw an ape; only man can do that; but, likewise, only man regards the ability to do this as a sign of superiority.
A handful of soldiers is always better than a mouthful of arguments.
With a pen in my hand I have successfully stormed bulwarks from which others armed with sword and excommunication have been repulsed.