S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.


  • [Born at Athens or in Ægina, about 429 B.C.; attended the school of Socrates; was sold as a slave in Sicily, but released; on his return to Athens opened the Academy, which he conducted for more than twenty years; died 347 B.C.]
  • Good Xenocrates, sacrifice to the Graces!

  • To a morose and unpolished philosopher. The advice was repeated by Lord Chesterfield to his son, whose manners were reported to him to be ungraceful.—Letters, March 9, 1748. Voltaire, when asked his opinion of Milton’s genius, said of the character of Satan, considered the strongest-drawn figure of “Paradise Lost,” “The ancients recommended us to sacrifice to the Graces, but Milton sacrificed to the Devil.” Dr. Young, after Voltaire had ridiculed Milton’s personification of Death, Sin, and Satan, in “Paradise Lost,” produced the following impromptu upon the French poet:—
  • “Thou art so witty, wicked, and so thin,
  • Thou art at once the Devil, Death, and Sin.”
  • Power and fortune must concur with prudence and justice, to effect any thing great in a political capacity.

  • PLUTARCH: Life of Dion.
  • Great parts produce great vices, as well as virtues.

    The man who would be truly happy should not study to enlarge his estate, but to contract his desires.

    Haughtiness lives under the same roof with solitude.

  • From Plato’s fourth letter to Dion, warning him against those forbidding manners which were so ill adapted to social and political intercourse. The advice is preceded by a political precept that “the complaisance which produces popularity is the source of the greatest operations in government.”
  • As Plato was about to leave Sicily, Dionysius, to palliate his conduct to him, gave him several entertainments, and at one of them remarked, “I suppose, Plato, that, when you return to your companions in the Academy, my faults will often be the subject of your conversation;” to which the philosopher replied, “I hope we shall never be so much at a loss for subjects in the Academy, as to talk of you.”