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This article is taken from PN Review 63, Volume 15 Number 1, September - October 1988.

Vauvenargues Reflections and Maxims (translated by C.H. Sisson) C.H. Sisson
1. It is easier to say new things than to reconcile those which have been said already.

2. The human mind is penetrating rather than consequential and picks up more than it can put together.

3. When a thought is too weak to bear being expressed simply, better abandon it.

10. It is rarely that we get to the bottom of what anyone else is thinking; so that if later we have the same thought ourselves we easily persuade ourselves that it is a new one, because then we see a context and consequences which had escaped us.

17. Doing well doesn't make you many friends.

22. Servitude so degrades men that they love it.

25. Before attacking an abuse one should undermine the foundations of it.

26. Inevitable abuses are laws of nature.

33. There are generations of opinions and like those of men they are good and bad in turn.

34. We do not know how attractive violent agitations can be. Those whom we pity for their troubles regard our tranquility with contempt.

35. No-one wants to be pitied for his mistakes.

39. Custom is everything, even in love.

44. Esteem wears out like love.

46. Those who are not honest in their pleasures only pretend to be so in business. It is the sign of a brutal nature not to be made gentle by pleasure.


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