Home  »  Familiar Quotations  »  Page 987

John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Page 987

François Marie Arouet de Voltaire. (1694–1778) (continued)
    History is little else than a picture of human crimes and misfortunes. 1
          L’Ingénu. Chap. x. (1767.)
    The first who was king was a fortunate soldier:
Who serves his country well has no need of ancestors. 2
          Merope. Act i. Sc. 3.
    In the best of possible worlds the château of monseigneur the baron was the most beautiful of châteaux, and madame the best of possible baronesses.
          Candide. Chap. i.
    In this country [England] it is well to kill from time to time an admiral to encourage the others.
          Candide. Chap. xxiii.
    The superfluous, a very necessary thing.
          Le Mondain. Line 21.
    Crush the infamous thing.
          Letter to d’Alembert, June 23, 1760.
    There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times.
          Letter to Cardinal de Bernis, April 23, 1761.
    The proper mean. 3
          Letter to Count d’Argental, Nov. 28, 1765.
    It is said that God is always on the side of the heaviest battalions. 4
          Letter to M. le Riche, Feb. 6, 1770.
    Love truth, but pardon error.
          Discours sur l’Homme. Discours 3.
Marie de Vichy-Chamrond, marquise Du Deffand. (1697–1780)
    He [Voltaire] has invented history. 5
    It is only the first step which costs. 6
          In reply to the Cardinal de Polignac.
Note 1.
See Gibbon, Quotation 1. [back]
Note 2.
See Scott, Quotation 72.

Borrowed from Lefranc de Pompignan’s “Didon.” [back]
Note 3.
See Cowper, Quotation 112. [back]
Note 4.
See Gibbon, Quotation 6.

Bussy Rabutin: Lettres, iv. 91. Sévigne: Lettre à sa Fille, p. 202. Tacitus: Historia, iv. 17. Terence: Phormio, i. 4. 26. [back]
Note 5.
Fournier: L’Esprit dans l’Histoire, p. 191. [back]
Note 6.
Voltaire writes to Madame du Deffand, January, 1764, that one of her bon-mots is quoted in the notes of “La Pucelle,” canto 1: “Il n’y a que le premier pas qui coûte.” [back]