Home  »  Dictionary of Quotations  »  Joubert

James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


All disputation makes the mind deaf, and when people are deaf I am dumb.

Chance generally favours the prudent.

Children have more need of models than of critics.

Eyes raised towards heaven are always beautiful, whatever they be.

Genius begins great works, labour alone finishes them.

God has commanded time to console the unhappy.

Good maxims are the germs of all excellence.

Grace is in garments, in movements, and manners; beauty in the nude and in forms.

He who has imagination without learning has wings without feet.

He who has not the weakness of friendship has not the strength.

How many people make themselves abstract to appear profound! The greatest part of abstract terms are shadows that hide a vacuum.

If fortune would make a man estimable, she gives him virtues; if she would have him esteemed, she gives him success.

Il donne des entrailles à tous les mots—He gives pathos to all his words.Of Rousseau.

Illusion on a ground of truth is the secret of the fine arts.

Imagination is the eye of the soul.

In a poem there should be not only the poetry of images, but also the poetry of ideas.

In clothes clean and fresh there is a kind of youth with which age should surround itself.

In literature to-day there are plenty good masons, but few good architects.

In the interchange of thought use no coin but gold and silver.

It is with our thoughts as with flowers. Those whose expression is simple carry their seed with them; those that are double, by their richness and pomp charm the mind, but produce nothing.

Lenity is part of justice.

Let us be men with men, and always children before God.

Light is, as it were, a divine humidity.

Logic works; metaphysic contemplates.

Maxims are to the intellect what laws are to actions; they do not enlighten, but they guide and direct.

Minds that never rest are subject to many digressions.

Morality is a curb, not a spur.

Never write anything that does not give you great pleasure; emotion is easily propagated from the writer to the reader.

Nothing does so much honour to a woman as her patience, and nothing does her so little as the patience of her husband.

Nothing is poetry which does not transport; the lyre is a winged instrument.

Old age was naturally more honoured in times when people could not know much more than they had seen.

Ornaments were invented by modesty.

Our ideas, like pictures, are made out of lights and shadows.

Piety is a kind of modesty. It makes us cast down our thoughts, just as modesty makes us cast down our eyes in presence of whatever is forbidden.

Piety is not a religion, although it is the soul of all religions.

Politeness is the flower of humanity.

Politeness is to goodness what words are to thoughts.

Professional critics are incapable of distinguishing and appreciating either diamonds in the rough state or gold in bars. They are traders, and in literature know only the coins that are current. Their critical laboratory has scales and weights, but neither crucible nor touchstone.

Proverbs are the abridgments of wisdom.

Reason is a bee, and exists only on what it makes; its usefulness takes the place of beauty.

Religion is a fire which example keeps alive, and which goes out if not communicated.

Religion is neither a theology nor a theosophy, but a discipline, a law, a yoke, an indissoluble engagement.

Religion is the only metaphysic that the multitude can understand and adopt.

Revenge is the abject pleasure of an abject mind.

Singing should enchant.

Sound maxims are the germs of good; strongly imprinted on the memory, they nourish the will.

Space is the statue of God.

Success makes men look larger, if reflection does not measure them.

Superstition is the only religion of which base souls are capable.

Tenderness is the repose of passion.

The dregs may stir themselves as they please; they fall back to the bottom by their own coarseness.

The form of government can never be a matter of choice; it is almost always a matter of necessity.

The human voice has an authority and an insinuating property which writing lacks.

The mind conceives with pain, but it brings forth with delight.

The morality of some people is in remnants—never enough to make a coat.

There are single thoughts that contain the essence of a whole volume, single sentences that have the beauties of a large work.

There are some men who are witty when they are in a bad humour, and others only when they are sad.

There is always some levity in excellent minds; they have wings to rise and also to stray.

There may often be less vanity in following the new modes than in adhering to the old ones. It is true that the foolish invent them, but the wise may conform to, instead of contradicting, them.

There never was a literary age whose dominant taste was not sickly.

There was a time when the world acted upon books. Now books act upon the world.

They have destroyed the beaten track to heaven; we are now compelled to make for ourselves ladders.

True religion is the poetry of the heart; it has enchantments useful to our manners; it gives us both happiness and virtue.

Virtue is the health of the soul; it gives a flavour to the smallest leaves of life.

We always believe that God is like ourselves: the indulgent affirm him indulgent; the stern, terrible.

We know God easily, provided we do not constrain ourselves to define him.

We should always keep a corner of our heads open and free, that we may make room for the opinions of our friends.

We use up in the passions the stuff that was given us for happiness.

Whoever has no fixed opinions has no constant feelings.

Without the spiritual world the material world is a disheartening enigma.

Words become luminous when the finger of the poet touches them with his phosphorus.

You arrive at truth through poetry, and I arrive at poetry through truth.

Young authors give their brains much exercise and little food.