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

Plutarh AD 46?-AD 120 John Bartlett

    As geographers, Sosius, crowd into the edges of their maps parts of the world which they do not know about, adding notes in the margin to the effect that beyond this lies nothing but sandy deserts full of wild beasts, and unapproachable bogs. 1
          Life of Theseus.
    From Themistocles began the saying, “He is a second Hercules.”
          Life of Theseus.
    The most perfect soul, says Heraclitus, is a dry light, which flies out of the body as lightning breaks from a cloud.
          Life of Romulus.
    Anacharsis coming to Athens, knocked at Solon’s door, and told him that he, being a stranger, was come to be his guest, and contract a friendship with him; and Solon replying, “It is better to make friends at home,” Anacharsis replied, “Then you that are at home make friendship with me.”
          Life of Solon.
    Themistocles said that he certainly could not make use of any stringed instrument; could only, were a small and obscure city put into his hands, make it great and glorious.
          Life of Themistocles.
    Eurybiades lifting up his staff as if he were going to strike, Themistocles said, “Strike, if you will; but hear.” 2
          Life of Themistocles.
    Themistocles said to Antiphales, “Time, young man, has taught us both a lesson.”
          Life of Themistocles.
    Laughing at his own son, who got his mother, and by his mother’s means his father also, to indulge him, he told him that he had the most power of any one in Greece: “For the Athenians command the rest of Greece, I command the Athenians, your mother commands me, and you command your mother.” 3
          Life of Themistocles.
    “You speak truth,” said Themistocles; “I should never have been famous if I had been of Seriphus; 4 nor you, had you been of Athens.”
          Life of Themistocles.
    Themistocles said that a man’s discourse was like to a rich Persian carpet, the beautiful figures and patterns of which can be shown only by spreading and extending it out; when it is contracted and folded up, they are obscured and lost. 5
          Life of Themistocles.
    When he was in great prosperity, and courted by many, seeing himself splendidly served at his table, he turned to his children and said: “Children, we had been undone, if we had not been undone.”
          Life of Themistocles.
    Moral good is a practical stimulus; it is no sooner seen than it inspires an impulse to practise.
          Life of Pericles.
    For ease and speed in doing a thing do not give the work lasting solidity or exactness of beauty. 6
          Life of Pericles.
    So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history.
          Life of Pericles.
    Be ruled by time, the wisest counsellor of all.
          Life of Pericles.
    To conduct great matters and never commit a fault is above the force of human nature.
          Life of Fabius.
    Menenius Agrippa concluded at length with the celebrated fable: “It once happened that all the other members of a man mutinied against the stomach, which they accused as the only idle, uncontributing part in the whole body, while the rest were put to hardships and the expense of much labour to supply and minister to its appetites.”
          Life of Coriolanus.
    Knowledge of divine things for the most part, as Heraclitus says, is lost to us by incredulity.
          Life of Coriolanus.
    A Roman divorced from his wife, being highly blamed by his friends, who demanded, “Was she not chaste? Was she not fair? Was she not fruitful?” holding out his shoe, asked them whether it was not new and well made. “Yet,” added he, “none of you can tell where it pinches me.”
          Life of Æmilius Paulus.
    The saying of old Antigonus, who when he was to fight at Andros, and one told him, “The enemy’s ships are more than ours,” replied, “For how many then wilt thou reckon me?” 7
          Life of Pelopidas.
    Archimedes had stated, that given the force, any given weight might be moved; and even boasted that if there were another earth, by going into it he could remove this.
          Life of Marcellus.
    It is a difficult task, O citizens, to make speeches to the belly, which has no ears. 8
          Life of Marcus Cato.
    Cato used to assert that wise men profited more by fools than fools by wise men; for that wise men avoided the faults of fools, but that fools would not imitate the good examples of wise men.
          Life of Marcus Cato.
    He said that in his whole life he most repented of three things: one was that he had trusted a secret to a woman; another, that he went by water when he might have gone by land; the third, that he had remained one whole day without doing any business of moment.
          Life of Marcus Cato.
    Marius said, “I see the cure is not worth the pain.” 9
          Life of Caius Marius.
    Extraordinary rains pretty generally fall after great battles. 10
          Life of Caius Marius.
    Lysander said that the law spoke too softly to be heard in such a noise of war.
          Life of Caius Marius.
    As it is in the proverb, played Cretan against Cretan. 11
          Life of Lysander.
    Did you not know, then, that to-day Lucullus sups with Lucullus?
          Life of Lucullus.
    It is no great wonder if in long process of time, while fortune takes her course hither and thither, numerous coincidences should spontaneously occur. If the number and variety of subjects to be wrought upon be infinite, it is all the more easy for fortune, with such an abundance of material, to effect this similarity of results. 12
          Life of Sertorius.
    Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
          Life of Sertorius.
    Agesilaus being invited once to hear a man who admirably imitated the nightingale, he declined, saying he had heard the nightingale itself. 13
          Life of Agesilaus II.
    It is circumstance and proper measure that give an action its character, and make it either good or bad.
          Life of Agesilaus II.
    The old proverb was now made good, “the mountain had brought forth a mouse.” 14
          Life of Agesilaus II.
    Pompey bade Sylla recollect that more worshipped the rising than the setting sun. 15
          Life of Pompey.
    When some were saying that if Cæsar should march against the city they could not see what forces there were to resist him, Pompey replied with a smile, bidding them be in no concern, “for whenever I stamp my foot in any part of Italy there will rise up forces enough in an instant, both horse and foot.”
          Life of Pompey.
    The most glorious exploits do not always furnish us with the clearest discoveries of virtue or vice in men.
          Life of Alexander.
    Whenever Alexander heard Philip had taken any town of importance, or won any signal victory, instead of rejoicing at it altogether, he would tell his companions that his father would anticipate everything, and leave him and them no opportunities of performing great and illustrious actions. 16
          Life of Alexander.
    Alexander said, “I assure you I had rather excel others in the knowledge of what is excellent, than in the extent of my power and dominion.”
          Life of Alexander.
    When Alexander asked Diogenes whether he wanted anything, “Yes,” said he, “I would have you stand from between me and the sun.”
          Life of Alexander.
    When asked why he parted with his wife, Cæsar replied, “I wished my wife to be not so much as suspected.” 17
          Life of Cæsar.
    For my part, I had rather be the first man among these fellows than the second man in Rome. 18
          Life of Cæsar.
    Using the proverb frequently in their mouths who enter upon dangerous and bold attempts, “The die is cast,” he took the river. 19
          Life of Cæsar.
    “And this,” said Cæsar, “you know, young man, is more disagreeable for me to say than to do.” 20
          Life of Cæsar.
    Go on, my friend, and fear nothing; you carry Cæsar and his fortunes in your boat. 21
          Life of Cæsar.
    Cæsar said to the soothsayer, “The ides of March are come;” who answered him calmly, “Yes, they are come, but they are not past.” 22
          Life of Cæsar.
    Even a nod from a person who is esteemed is of more force than a thousand arguments or studied sentences from others.
          Life of Phocion.
    Demosthenes told Phocion, “The Athenians will kill you some day when they once are in a rage.” “And you,” said he, “if they are once in their senses.” 23
          Life of Phocion.
    Pythias once, scoffing at Demosthenes, said that his arguments smelt of the lamp.
          Life of Demosthenes.
    Demosthenes overcame and rendered more distinct his inarticulate and stammering pronunciation by speaking with pebbles in his mouth.
          Life of Demosthenes.
    In his house he had a large looking-glass, before which he would stand and go through his exercises.
          Life of Demosthenes.
    Cicero called Aristotle a river of flowing gold, and said of Plato’s Dialogues, that if Jupiter were to speak, it would be in language like theirs.
          Life of Cicero.
    For water continually dropping will wear hard rocks hollow. 24
          Of the Training of Children.
    It is a true proverb, that if you live with a lame man you will learn to halt.
          Of the Training of Children.
    The very spring and root of honesty and virtue lie in the felicity of lighting on good education.
          Of the Training of Children.
    It is indeed a desirable thing to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors.
          Of the Training of Children.
    According to the proverb, the best things are the most difficult.
          Of the Training of Children.
    To sing the same tune, as the saying is, is in everything cloying and offensive; but men are generally pleased with variety.
          Of the Training of Children.
    Children are to be won to follow liberal studies by exhortations and rational motives, and on no account to be forced thereto by whipping.
          Of the Training of Children.
    Nothing made the horse so fat as the king’s eye.
          Of the Training of Children.
    Democritus said, words are but the shadows of actions.
          Of the Training of Children.
    ’T is a wise saying, Drive on your own track.
          Of the Training of Children.
    It is a point of wisdom to be silent when occasion requires, and better than to speak, though never so well.
          Of the Training of Children.
    Eat not thy heart; which forbids to afflict our souls, and waste them with vexatious cares. 25
          Of the Training of Children.
    Abstain from beans; that is, keep out of public offices, for anciently the choice of the officers of state was made by beans.
          Of the Training of Children.
    When men are arrived at the goal, they should not turn back. 26
          Of the Training of Children.
    The whole life of man is but a point of time; let us enjoy it, therefore, while it lasts, and not spend it to no purpose.
          Of the Training of Children.
    An old doting fool, with one foot already in the grave. 27
          Of the Training of Children.
    Xenophanes said, “I confess myself the greatest coward in the world, for I dare not do an ill thing.”
          Of Bashfulness.
    One made the observation of the people of Asia that they were all slaves to one man, merely because they could not pronounce that syllable No.
          Of Bashfulness.
    Euripides was wont to say, “Silence is an answer to a wise man.”
          Of Bashfulness.
    Zeno first started that doctrine that knavery is the best defence against a knave. 28
          Of Bashfulness.
    Alexander wept when he heard from Anaxarchus that there was an infinite number of worlds; and his friends asking him if any accident had befallen him, he returns this answer: “Do you not think it a matter worthy of lamentation that when there is such a vast multitude of them, we have not yet conquered one?”
          On the Tranquillity of the Mind.
    Like the man who threw a stone at a bitch, but hit his step-mother, on which he exclaimed, “Not so bad!”
          On the Tranquillity of the Mind.
    Pittacus said, “Every one of you hath his particular plague, and my wife is mine; and he is very happy who hath this only.”
          On the Tranquillity of the Mind.
    He was a man, which, as Plato saith, is a very inconstant creature. 29
          On the Tranquillity of the Mind.
    The pilot cannot mitigate the billows or calm the winds. 30
          On the Tranquillity of the Mind.
    I, for my own part, had much rather people should say of me that there neither is nor ever was such a man as Plutarch, than that they should say, “Plutarch is an unsteady, fickle, froward, vindictive, and touchy fellow.”
          Of Superstition.
    Scilurus on his death-bed, being about to leave four-score sons surviving, offered a bundle of darts to each of them, and bade them break them. When all refused, drawing out one by one, he easily broke them,—thus teaching them that if they held together, they would continue strong; but if they fell out and were divided, they would become weak.
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 31 Scilurus.
    Dionysius the Elder, being asked whether he was at leisure, he replied, “God forbid that it should ever befall me!”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 32 Dionysius.
    A prating barber asked Archelaus how he would be trimmed. He answered, “In silence.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 33 Archelaus.
    When Philip had news brought him of divers and eminent successes in one day, “O Fortune!” said he, “for all these so great kindnesses do me some small mischief.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 34 Philip.
    There were two brothers called Both and Either; perceiving Either was a good, understanding, busy fellow, and Both a silly fellow and good for little, Philip said, “Either is both, and Both is neither.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 35 Philip.
    Philip being arbitrator betwixt two wicked persons, he commanded one to fly out of Macedonia and the other to pursue him.
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 36 Philip.
    Being about to pitch his camp in a likely place, and hearing there was no hay to be had for the cattle, “What a life,” said he, “is ours, since we must live according to the convenience of asses!”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 37 Philip.
    “These Macedonians,” said he, “are a rude and clownish people, that call a spade a spade.” 38
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 39 Philip.
    He made one of Antipater’s recommendation a judge; and perceiving afterwards that his hair and beard were coloured, he removed him, saying, “I could not think one that was faithless in his hair could be trusty in his deeds.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 40 Philip.
    Being nimble and light-footed, his father encouraged him to run in the Olympic race. “Yes,” said he, “if there were any kings there to run with me.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 41 Alexander.
    When Darius offered him ten thousand talents, and to divide Asia equally with him, “I would accept it,” said Parmenio, “were I Alexander.” “And so truly would I,” said Alexander, “if I were Parmenio.” But he answered Darius that the earth could not bear two suns, nor Asia two kings.
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 42 Alexander.
    When he was wounded with an arrow in the ankle, and many ran to him that were wont to call him a god, he said smiling, “That is blood, as you see, and not, as Homer saith, ‘such humour as distils from blessed gods.’”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 43 Alexander.
    Aristodemus, a friend of Antigonus, supposed to be a cook’s son, advised him to moderate his gifts and expenses. “Thy words,” said he, “Aristodemus, smell of the apron.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 44 Antigonus I.
    Thrasyllus the Cynic begged a drachm of Antigonus. “That,” said he, “is too little for a king to give.” “Why, then,” said the other, “give me a talent.” “And that,” said he, “is too much for a Cynic (or, for a dog) to receive.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 45 Antigonus I.
    Antagoras the poet was boiling a conger, and Antigonus, coming behind him as he was stirring his skillet, said, “Do you think, Antagoras, that Homer boiled congers when he wrote the deeds of Agamemnon?” Antagoras replied, “Do you think, O king, that Agamemnon, when he did such exploits, was a peeping in his army to see who boiled congers?”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 46 Antigonus I.
    Pyrrhus said, “If I should overcome the Romans in another fight, I were undone.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 47 Pyrrhus.
    Themistocles being asked whether he would rather be Achilles or Homer, said, “Which would you rather be,—a conqueror in the Olympic games, or the crier that proclaims who are conquerors?”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 48 Themistocles.
    He preferred an honest man that wooed his daughter, before a rich man. “I would rather,” said Themistocles, “have a man that wants money than money that wants a man.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 49 Themistocles.
    Alcibiades had a very handsome dog, that cost him seven thousand drachmas; and he cut off his tail, “that,” said he, “the Athenians may have this story to tell of me, and may concern themselves no further with me.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 50 Alcibiades.
    Being summoned by the Athenians out of Sicily to plead for his life, Alcibiades absconded, saying that that criminal was a fool who studied a defence when he might fly for it.
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 51 Alcibiades.
    Lamachus chid a captain for a fault; and when he had said he would do so no more, “Sir,” said he, “in war there is no room for a second miscarriage.” Said one to Iphicrates, “What are ye afraid of?” “Of all speeches,” said he, “none is so dishonourable for a general as ‘I should not have thought of it.’”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 52 Iphicrates.
    To Harmodius, descended from the ancient Harmodius, when he reviled Iphicrates [a shoemaker’s son] for his mean birth, “My nobility,” said he, “begins in me, but yours ends in you.” 53
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 54 Iphicrates.
    Once when Phocion had delivered an opinion which pleased the people,… he turned to his friend and said, “Have I not unawares spoken some mischievous thing or other?”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 55 Phocion.
    Phocion compared the speeches of Leosthenes to cypress-trees. “They are tall,” said he, “and comely, but bear no fruit.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 56 Phocion.
    Lycurgus the Lacedæmonian brought long hair into fashion among his countrymen, saying that it rendered those that were handsome more beautiful, and those that were deformed more terrible. To one that advised him to set up a democracy in Sparta, “Pray,” said Lycurgus, “do you first set up a democracy in your own house.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 57 Lycurgus.
    King Agis said, “The Lacedæmonians are not wont to ask how many, but where the enemy are.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 58 Agis.
    Lysander said, “Where the lion’s skin will not reach, it must be pieced with the fox’s.” 59
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 60 Lysander.
    To one that promised to give him hardy cocks that would die fighting, “Prithee,” said Cleomenes, “give me cocks that will kill fighting.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 61 Cleomenes.
    When Eudæmonidas heard a philosopher arguing that only a wise man can be a good general, “This is a wonderful speech,” said he; “but he that saith it never heard the sound of trumpets.”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 62 Eudæmonidas.
    A soldier told Pelopidas, “We are fallen among the enemies.” Said he, “How are we fallen among them more than they among us?”
          Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. 63 Pelopidas.
    Cato the elder wondered how that city was preserved wherein a fish was sold for more than an ox.
          Roman Apophthegms. Cato the Elder.
    Cato instigated the magistrates to punish all offenders, saying that they that did not prevent crimes when they might, encouraged them. 64 Of young men, he liked them that blushed better than those who looked pale.
          Roman Apophthegms. Cato the Elder.
    Cato requested old men not to add the disgrace of wickedness to old age, which was accompanied with many other evils.
          Roman Apophthegms. Cato the Elder.
    He said they that were serious in ridiculous matters would be ridiculous in serious affairs.
          Roman Apophthegms. Cato the Elder.
    Cicero said loud-bawling orators were driven by their weakness to noise, as lame men to take horse.
          Roman Apophthegms. Cicero.
    After the battle in Pharsalia, when Pompey was fled, one Nonius said they had seven eagles left still, and advised to try what they would do. “Your advice,” said Cicero, “were good if we were to fight jackdaws.”
          Roman Apophthegms. Cicero.
    After he routed Pharnaces Ponticus at the first assault, he wrote thus to his friends: “I came, I saw, I conquered.” 65
          Roman Apophthegms. Cæsar.
    As Cæsar was at supper the discourse was of death,—which sort was the best. “That,” said he, “which is unexpected.”
          Roman Apophthegms. Cæsar.
    As Athenodorus was taking his leave of Cæsar, “Remember,” said he, “Cæsar, whenever you are angry, to say or do nothing before you have repeated the four-and-twenty letters to yourself.”
          Roman Apophthegms. Cæsar Augustus.
    “Young men,” said Cæsar, “hear an old man to whom old men hearkened when he was young.”
          Roman Apophthegms. Cæsar Augustus.
    Remember what Simonides said,—that he never repented that he had held his tongue, but often that he had spoken. 66
          Rules for the Preservation of Health. 7.
    Custom is almost a second nature. 67
          Rules for the Preservation of Health. 18.
    Epaminondas is reported wittily to have said of a good man that died about the time of the battle of Leuctra, “How came he to have so much leisure as to die, when there was so much stirring?”
          Rules for the Preservation of Health. 25.
    Have in readiness this saying of Solon, “But we will not give up our virtue in exchange for their wealth.”
          How to profit by our Enemies.
    Socrates thought that if all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence every one must take an equal portion, most persons would be contented to take their own and depart.
          Consolation to Apollonius.
    Diogenes the Cynic, when a little before his death he fell into a slumber, and his physician rousing him out of it asked him whether anything ailed him, wisely answered, “Nothing, sir; only one brother anticipates another,—Sleep before Death.”
          Consolation to Apollonius.
    About Pontus there are some creatures of such an extempore being that the whole term of their life is confined within the space of a day; for they are brought forth in the morning, are in the prime of their existence at noon, grow old at night, and then die.
          Consolation to Apollonius.
    The measure of a man’s life is the well spending of it, and not the length.
          Consolation to Apollonius.
    For many, as Cranton tells us, and those very wise men, not now but long ago, have deplored the condition of human nature, esteeming life a punishment, and to be born a man the highest pitch of calamity; this, Aristotle tells us, Silenus declared when he was brought captive to Midas.
          Consolation to Apollonius.
    There are two sentences inscribed upon the Delphic oracle, hugely accommodated to the usages of man’s life: “Know thyself,” 68 and “Nothing too much;” and upon these all other precepts depend.
          Consolation to Apollonius.
    To one commending an orator for his skill in amplifying petty matters, Agesilaus said, “I do not think that shoemaker a good workman that makes a great shoe for a little foot.”
          Laconic Apophthegms. Of Agesilaus the Great.
    “I will show,” said Agesilaus, “that it is not the places that grace men, but men the places.”
          Laconic Apophthegms. Of Agesilaus the Great.
    When one asked him what boys should learn, “That,” said he, “which they shall use when men.”
          Laconic Apophthegms. Of Agesilaus the Great.
    Agesilaus was very fond of his children; and it is reported that once toying with them he got astride upon a reed as upon a horse, and rode about the room; and being seen by one of his friends, he desired him not to speak of it till he had children of his own.
          Laconic Apophthegms. Of Agesilaus the Great.
    When Demaratus was asked whether he held his tongue because he was a fool or for want of words, he replied, “A fool cannot hold his tongue.”
          Laconic Apophthegms. Of Demaratus.
    Lysander, when Dionysius sent him two gowns, and bade him choose which he would carry to his daughter, said, “She can choose best,” and so took both away with him.
          Laconic Apophthegms. Of Lysander.
    A physician, after he had felt the pulse of Pausanias, and considered his constitution, saying, “He ails nothing,” “It is because, sir,” he replied, “I use none of your physic.”
          Laconic Apophthegms. Of Pausanias the Son of Phistoanax.
    And when the physician said, “Sir, you are an old man,” “That happens,” replied Pausanias, “because you never were my doctor.”
          Laconic Apophthegms. Of Pausanias the Son of Phistoanax.
    When one told Plistarchus that a notorious railer spoke well of him, “I ’ll lay my life,” said he, “somebody hath told him I am dead, for he can speak well of no man living.”
          Laconic Apophthegms. Of Plistarchus.
    Anacharsis said a man’s felicity consists not in the outward and visible favours and blessings of Fortune, but in the inward and unseen perfections and riches of the mind.
          The Banquet of the Seven Wise Men. 11.
    Said Periander, “Hesiod might as well have kept his breath to cool his pottage.” 69
          The Banquet of the Seven Wise Men. 14.
    Socrates said, “Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.” 70
          How a Young Man ought to hear Poems. 4.
    And Archimedes, as he was washing, thought of a manner of computing the proportion of gold in King Hiero’s crown by seeing the water flowing over the bathing-stool. He leaped up as one possessed or inspired, crying, “I have found it! Eureka!”
          Pleasure not attainable according to Epicurus. 11.
    Said Scopas of Thessaly, “We rich men count our felicity and happiness to lie in these superfluities, and not in those necessary things.” 71
          Of the Love of Wealth.
    That proverbial saying, “Ill news goes quick and far.”
          Of Inquisitiveness.
    A traveller at Sparta, standing long upon one leg, said to a Lacedæmonian, “I do not believe you can do as much.” “True,” said he, “but every goose can.”
          Remarkable Speeches.
    Spintharus, speaking in commendation of Epaminondas, says he scarce ever met with any man who knew more and spoke less.
          Of Hearing. 6.
    It is a thing of no great difficulty to raise objections against another man’s oration,—nay, it is a very easy matter; but to produce a better in its place is a work extremely troublesome.
          Of Hearing. 6.
    Antiphanes said merrily, that in a certain city the cold was so intense that words were congealed as soon as spoken, but that after some time they thawed and became audible; so that the words spoken in winter were articulated next summer. 72
          Of Man’s Progress in Virtue.
    As those persons who despair of ever being rich make little account of small expenses, thinking that little added to a little will never make any great sum.
          Of Man’s Progress in Virtue.
    What is bigger than an elephant? But this also is become man’s plaything, and a spectacle at public solemnities; and it learns to skip, dance, and kneel.
          Of Fortune.
    No man ever wetted clay and then left it, as if there would be bricks by chance and fortune.
          Of Fortune.
    Alexander was wont to say, “Were I not Alexander, I would be Diogenes.”
          Of the Fortune or Virtue of Alexander the Great.
    When the candles are out all women are fair. 73
          Conjugal Precepts.
    Like watermen, who look astern while they row the boat ahead. 74
          Whether ’t was rightfully said, Live Concealed.
    Socrates said he was not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world. 75
          Of Banishment.
    Anaximander says that men were first produced in fishes, and when they were grown up and able to help themselves were thrown up, and so lived upon the land.
          Symposiacs. Book viii. Question viii.
    Athenodorus says hydrophobia, or water-dread, was first discovered in the time of Asclepiades.
          Symposiacs. Book viii. Question ix.
    Let us not wonder if something happens which never was before, or if something doth not appear among us with which the ancients were acquainted.
          Symposiacs. Book viii. Question ix.
    Why does pouring oil on the sea make it clear and calm? Is it for that the winds, slipping the smooth oil, have no force, nor cause any waves? 76
          Symposiacs. Book viii. Question ix.
    The great god Pan is dead. 77
          Why the Oracles cease to give Answers.
    I am whatever was, or is, or will be; and my veil no mortal ever took up. 78
          Of Isis and Osiris.
    When Hermodotus in his poems described Antigonus as the son of Helios, “My valet-de-chambre,” said he, “is not aware of this.” 79
          Of Isis and Osiris.
    There is no debt with so much prejudice put off as that of justice.
          Of those whom God is slow to punish.
    It is a difficult thing for a man to resist the natural necessity of mortal passions.
          Of those whom God is slow to punish.
    He is a fool who lets slip a bird in the hand for a bird in the bush. 80
          Of Garrulity.
    We are more sensible of what is done against custom than against Nature.
          Of Eating of Flesh. Tract 1.
    When Demosthenes was asked what was the first part of oratory, he answered, “Action;” and which was the second, he replied, “Action;” and which was the third, he still answered, “Action.”
          Lives of the Ten Orators.
    Xenophon says that there is no sound more pleasing than one’s own praises.
          Whether an Aged Man ought to meddle in State Affairs.
    Lampis, the sea commander, being asked how he got his wealth, answered, “My greatest estate I gained easily enough, but the smaller slowly and with much labour.”
          Whether an Aged Man ought to meddle in State Affairs.
    The general himself ought to be such a one as can at the same time see both forward and backward.
          Whether an Aged Man ought to meddle in State Affairs.
    Statesmen are not only liable to give an account of what they say or do in public, but there is a busy inquiry made into their very meals, beds, marriages, and every other sportive or serious action.
          Political Precepts.
    Leo Byzantius said, “What would you do, if you saw my wife, who scarce reaches up to my knees?… Yet,” went he on, “as little as we are, when we fall out with each other, the city of Byzantium is not big enough to hold us.”
          Political Precepts.
    Cato said, “I had rather men should ask why my statue is not set up, than why it is.”
          Political Precepts.
    It was the saying of Bion, that though the boys throw stones at frogs in sport, yet the frogs do not die in sport but in earnest. 81
          Which are the most crafty, Water or Land Animals? 7.
    Both Empedocles and Heraclitus held it for a truth that man could not be altogether cleared from injustice in dealing with beasts as he now does.
          Which are the most crafty, Water or Land Animals? 7.
    For to err in opinion, though it be not the part of wise men, is at least human. 82
          Against Colotes.
    Simonides calls painting silent poetry, and poetry speaking painting.
          Whether the Athenians were more Warlike or Learned. 3.
    As Meander says, “For our mind is God;” and as Heraclitus, “Man’s genius is a deity.”
          Platonic Questions. i.
    Pythagoras, when he was asked what time was, answered that it was the soul of this world.
          Platonic Questions. viii. 4.
Note 1.
See Swift, Quotation 2. [back]
Note 2.
”Strike,” said he, “but hear me.”—Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. (Themistocles.) [back]
Note 3.
Diophantus, the young son of Themistocles, made his boast often and in many companies, that whatsoever pleased him pleased also all Athens; for whatever he liked, his mother liked; and whatever his mother liked, Themistocles liked; and whatever Themistocles liked, all the Athenians liked.—Of the Training of Children.

When the son of Themistocles was a little saucy toward his mother, he said that this boy had more power than all the Grecians; for the Athenians governed Greece, he the Athenians, his wife him, and his son his wife.—Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. (Themistocles.) [back]
Note 4.
An obscure island. [back]
Note 5.
Themistocles said speech was like to tapestry; and like it, when it was spread it showed its figures, but when it was folded up, hid and spoiled them.—Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. (Themistocles.) [back]
Note 6.
See Chaucer, Quotation 24. [back]
Note 7.
The pilot telling Antigonus the enemy outnumbered him in ships, he said, “But how many ships do you reckon my presence to be worth?” Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. (Antigonus II.) [back]
Note 8.
The belly has no ears, nor is it to be filled with fair words.—Francis Rabelais: book iv. chap. lxvii. [back]
Note 9.
See Bacon, Quotation 16. [back]
Note 10.
This has been observed in modern times, and attributed to the effect of gunpowder. [back]
Note 11.
Or cheat against cheat. The Cretans were famous as liars. [back]
Note 12.
’T is one and the same Nature that rolls on her course, and whoever has sufficiently considered the present state of things might certainly conclude as to both the future and the past.—Montaigne: Essays, book ii. chap. xii. Apology for Raimond Sebond.

I shall be content if those shall pronounce my History useful who desire to give a view of events as they did really happen, and as they are very likely, in accordance with human nature, to repeat themselves at some future time,—if not exactly the same, yet very similar.—Thucydides: Historia, i. 2, 2.

What is this day supported by precedents will hereafter become a precedent.—Ibid., Annals. xi. 24. [back]
Note 13.
Agesilaus being exhorted to hear one that imitated the voice of a nightingale, “I have often,” said he, “heard nightingales themselves.”—Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. (Agesilaus.) [back]
Note 14.
See Horace, Quotation 6. [back]
Note 15.
See Garrick, Quotation 4.

He [Tiberius] upbraided Macro in no obscure and indirect terms “with forsaking the setting sun and turning to the rising.”—Tacitus: Annals, book iv. c. 47, 20. [back]
Note 16.
While Alexander was a boy, Philip had great success in his affairs, at which he did not rejoice, but told the children that were brought up with him, “My father will leave me nothing to do.”—Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. (Alexander.) [back]
Note 17.
Cæsar’s wife ought to be free from suspicion.—Roman Apophthegms. (Cæsar.) [back]
Note 18.
I had rather be the first in this town than second in Rome.—Ibid. [back]
Note 19.
He passed the river Rubicon, saying, “Let every die be thrown.”—Ibid. [back]
Note 20.
Cæsar said to Metellus, “This, young man, is harder for me to say than do.”—Roman Apophthegms. (Cæsar.) [back]
Note 21.
Trust Fortune, and know that you carry Cæsar—Ibid. [back]
Note 22.
See Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar, Quotation 27. [back]
Note 23.
Demosthenes the orator told Phocion, “If the Athenians should be mad, they would kill you.” “Like enough.” said he.—“me if they were mad, but you if they were wise.”—Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders. (Phocion.) [back]
Note 24.
See Lyly, Quotation 8. [back]
Note 25.
See Spenser, Quotation 28. [back]
Note 26.
See Publius Syrus, Quotation 58. [back]
Note 27.
See Beaumont and Fletcher, Quotation 14. [back]
Note 28.
Set a thief to catch a thief.—Bohn: A Hand-book of Proverbs. [back]
Note 29.
Man in sooth is a marvellous, vain, fickle, and unstable subject.—Montaigne: Works, book i. chap. i. That Men by various Ways arrive at the same End. [back]
Note 30.
See Publius Syrus, Quotation 74. [back]
Note 31.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 32.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 33.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 34.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 35.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 36.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 37.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 38.
[greek].—Aristophanes, as quoted in Lucian, Quom. Hist. sit conscrib. 41.

Brought up like a rude Macedon, and taught to call a spade a spade.—Gosson: Ephemerides of Phialo (1579). [back]
Note 39.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 40.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 41.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 42.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 43.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 44.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 45.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 46.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 47.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 48.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 49.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 50.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 51.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 52.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 53.
I am my own ancestor.—Junot, Duc D’Abrantes (when asked as to his ancestry). [back]
Note 54.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 55.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 56.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 57.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 58.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 59.
Lysander said, “When the lion’s skin cannot prevail, a little of the fox’s must be used.”—Laconic Apophthegms. (Lysander.) [back]
Note 60.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 61.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 62.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 63.
Rejected by some critics as not a genuine work of Plutarch.—Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]
Note 64.
Pardon one offence, and you encourage the commission of many.—Publius Syrus: Maxim 750. [back]
Note 65.
Veni, vidi, vici. [back]
Note 66.
See Publius Syrus, Quotation 99. [back]
Note 67.
See “Of Unknown Authorship,” Quotation 2. Also Publius Syrus, Quotation 31. [back]
Note 68.
See Pope, Quotation 22.

Plutarch ascribes this saying to Plato. It is also ascribed to Pythagoras, Chilo, Thales, Cleobulus, Bias, and Socrates; also to Phemonë, a mythical Greek poetess of the ante-Homeric period. Juvenal (Satire xi. 27) says that this precept descended from heaven. [back]
Note 69.
Spare your breath to cool your porridge.—Francis Rabelais: Works, book v. chap. xxviii. [back]
Note 70.
See Fielding, Quotation 10.

He used to say that other men lived to eat, but that he ate to live.—Diogenes Laertius: Socrates, xiv. [back]
Note 71.
See Holmes, Quotation 28. [back]
Note 72.
In the “Adventures of Baron Munchausen” (Rudolphe Erich Raspe), stories gathered from various sources, is found the story of sound being frozen for a time in a post-horn, which when thawed gave a variety of tunes. A somewhat similar account is found in Rabelais, book iv. chaps. lv. lvi., referring to Antiphanes. [back]
Note 73.
See Heywood, Quotation 32. [back]
Note 74.
See Burton, Quotation 9. [back]
Note 75.
See Garrison, Quotation 3. [back]
Note 76.
See Pliny, Quotation 4. [back]
Note 77.
See Mrs. Browning, Quotation 11.

Plutarch relates (Isis and Osiris) that a ship well laden with passengers drove with the tide near the Isles of Paxi, when a loud voice was heard by most of the passengers calling unto one Thanus. The voice then said aloud to him, “When you are arrived at Palodes, take care to make it known that the great god Pan is dead.” [back]
Note 78.
I am the things that are, and those that are to be, and those that have been. No one ever lifted my skirts; the fruit which I bore was the sun.—Proclus: On Plato’s Timæus, p. 30 D. (Inscription in the temple of Neith at Sais, in Egypt.) [back]
Note 79.
No man is a hero to his valet-de-chambre.—Marshal Catinat (1637–1712).

Few men have been admired by their domestics.—Montaigne: Essays, book iii. chap. 2.

This phrase, “No man is a hero to his valet,” is commonly attributed to Madame de Sévigné, but on the authority of Madame Aissé (Letters, edited by Jules Ravenal, 1853) it really belongs to Madame Cornuel. [back]
Note 80.
See Heywood, Quotation 67. [back]
Note 81.
Though this may be play to you,
’T is death to us.
Roger L’Estrange: Fables from Several Authors. Fable 398. [back]
Note 82.
See Pope, Quotation 113. [back]