Erasmus is famous for having said the following quotes:
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The fox has many tricks. The hedgehog has but one. But that is
the best of all.
The nearer people approach old age the closer
they return to a semblance of childhood, until the time comes for them to depart
this life, again like children, neither tired of living nor aware of death.
Everyone knows that by far the happiest and universally enjoyable age of
man is the first. What is there about babies which makes us hug and kiss and fondle
them, so that even an enemy would give them help at that age?
I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.
You'll see certain Pythagorean whose belief in communism of
property goes to such lengths that they pick up anything lying about unguarded,
and make off with it without a qualm of conscience as if it had come to them by
Nothing is as peevish and pedantic as men's judgments
of one another.
Man's mind is so formed that it is far more
susceptible to falsehood than to truth.
The more ignorant,
reckless and thoughtless a doctor is, the higher his reputation soars even amongst
Great eagerness in the pursuit of wealth,
pleasure, or honor, cannot exist without sin.
of a stepmother than a mother in several ways, has sown a seed of evil in the
hearts of mortals, especially in the more thoughtful men, which makes them dissatisfied
with their own lot and envious of another s.
What is popularly
called fame is nothing but an empty name and a legacy from paganism.
The entire world is my temple, and a very fine one too, if I'm not mistaken,
and I'll never lack priests to serve it as long as there are men.
In short, no association or alliance can be happy or stable without me.
People can't long tolerate a ruler, nor can a master his servant, a maid her mistress,
a teacher his pupil, a friend his friend nor a wife her husband, a landlord his
tenant, a soldier his comrade nor a party-goer his companion, unless they sometimes
have illusions about each other, make use of flattery, and have the sense to turn
a blind eye and sweeten life for themselves with the honey of folly.
Fools are without number.
Everybody hates a prodigy,
detests an old head on young shoulders.
Time takes away the
grief of men.
A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is
overcome by habit.
It is the chiefest point of happiness that
a man is willing to be what he is.
Now I believe I can hear
the philosophers protesting that it can only be misery to live in folly, illusion,
deception and ignorance, but it isn't --it's human.
unbelievable pleasure in the hideous blast of the hunting horn and baying of the
hounds. Dogs dung smells sweet as cinnamon to them.
is there, do you think, between those in Plato's cave who can only marvel at the
shadows and images of various objects, provided they are content and don't know
what they miss, and the philosopher who has emerged from the cave and sees the
I doubt if a single individual could be found
from the whole of mankind free from some form of insanity. The only difference
is one of degree. A man who sees a gourd and takes it for his wife is called insane
because this happens to very few people.
Ask a wise man to
dinner and he'll upset everyone by his gloomy silence or tiresome questions. Invite
him to a dance and you'll have a camel prancing about. Haul him off to a public
entertainment and his face will be enough to spoil the people's entertainment.
By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter
can mankind be remade.
Amongst the learned the lawyers claim
first place, the most self-satisfied class of people, as they roll their rock
of Sisyphus and string together six hundred laws in the same breath, no matter
whether relevant or not, piling up opinion on opinion and gloss on gloss to make
their profession seem the most difficult of all. Anything which causes trouble
has special merit in their eyes.
This type of man who is devoted
to the study of wisdom is always most unlucky in everything, and particularly
when it comes to procreating children; I imagine this is because Nature wants
to ensure that the evils of wisdom shall not spread further throughout mankind.
Your library is your paradise.
and the darkness will disappear of itself.
If you look at history
you'll find that no state has been so plagued by its rulers as when power has
fallen into the hands of some dabbler in philosophy or literary addict.
Whether a party can have much success without a woman present I must ask
others to decide, but one thing is certain, no party is any fun unless seasoned
Jupiter, not wanting man's life to be wholly gloomy
and grim, has bestowed far more passion than reason --you could reckon the ration
as twenty-four to one. Moreover, he confined reason to a cramped corner of the
head and left all the rest of the body to the passions.
is wisdom in prosperity, when all is as thou wouldn't have it, to fear and suspect
As an example of just how useless these philosophers
are for any practice in life there is Socrates himself, the one and only wise
man, according to the Delphic Oracle. Whenever he tried to do anything in public
he had to break off amid general laughter. While he was philosophizing about clouds
and ideas, measuring a flea's foot and marveling at a midge's humming, he learned
nothing about the affairs of ordinary life.
Nothing is so foolish,
they say, as for a man to stand for office and woo the crowd to win its vote,
buy its support with presents, court the applause of all those fools and feel
self-satisfied when they cry their approval, and then in his hour of triumph to
be carried round like an effigy for the public to stare at, and end up cast in
bronze to stand in the market place.
For them it's out-of-date
and outmoded to perform miracles; teaching the people is too like hard work, interpreting
the holy scriptures is for schoolmen and praying is a waste of time; to shed tears
is weak and womanish, to be needy is degrading; to suffer defeat is a disgrace
and hardly fitting for one who scarcely permits the greatest of kings to kiss
the toes of his sacred feet; and finally, death is an unattractive prospect, and
dying on a cross would be an ignominious end.
that the burden you carry may have as easy an exit as it had an entrance. [Prayer
To A Pregnant Woman]
Prevention is better than cure.
Picture the prince, such as most of them are today: a man ignorant of the
law, well-nigh an enemy to his people's advantage, while intent on his personal
convenience, a dedicated voluptuary, a hater of learning, freedom and truth, without
a thought for the interests of his country, and measuring everything in terms
of his own profit and desires.
People who use their erudition
to write for a learned minority... don't seem to me favored by fortune but rather
to be pitied for their continuous self-torture. They add, change, remove, lay
aside, take up, rephrase, show to their friends, keep for nine years and are never
satisfied. And their futile reward, a word of praise from a handful of people,
they win at such a cost -- so many late nights, such loss of sleep, sweetest of
all things, and so much sweat and anguish... their health deteriorates, their
looks are destroyed, they suffer partial or total blindness, poverty, ill-will,
denial of pleasure, premature old age and early death.
respects a talent that is concealed.
Concealed talent brings
It's the generally accepted privilege of theologians
to stretch the heavens, that is the Scriptures, like tanners with a hide.
War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it.
Great abundance of riches cannot be gathered and kept by any man without
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