Baltasar Gracián

Some marry the first information they receive, and turn what comes later into their concubine. Since deceit is always first to arrive, there is no room left for truth.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (January 8, 1601December 6, 1658), most widely known as Baltasar Gracián, was a Spanish Jesuit author regarded as one of the most accomplished prose stylists of the Baroque era.

SourcedEdit

When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.
Politeness and a sense of honor have this advantage: we bestow them on others without losing a thing.

The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)Edit

Oráculo manual y arte de prudencia, the title of which has been translated, as The Oracle, a Manual of the Art of Discretion and The Art of Worldly Wisdom, was a collection of maxims. Page numbers provided here are from The Art of Worldly Wisdom: A Pocket Oracle (1992), translated by Christopher Maurer, ISBN 0-385-42131-1
  • Que el aviso haga antes viso de recuerdo de lo que olvidava que de luz de lo que no alcançó.
    • When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.
    • Maxim 7 (p. 4)
  • Pero el que no pudiere alcançar a tener la sabiduría en servidumbre, lógrela en familiaridad.
    • If you cannot make knowledge your servant, make it your friend.
    • Maxim 15 (p. 9)
  • Unos principios de crédito sirven de despertar la curiosidad, no de empeñar el objecto. Mejor sale quando la realidad excede al concepto y es más de lo que se creyó. Faltará esta regla en lo malo, pues le ayuda la mesma exageración; desmiéntela con aplauso, y aun llega a parecer tolerable lo que se temió extremo de ruin.
    • Honorable beginnings should serve to awaken curiosity, not to heighten people's expectations. We are much better off when reality surpasses our expectations, and something turns out better than we thought it would. This rule does not hold true for bad things: when an evil has been exaggerated, its reality makes people applaud. What was feared as ruinous comes to seem tolerable.
    • Maxim 19 (p. 12)
  • El encarecer es ramo de mentir.
    • To overvalue something is a form of lying.
    • Maxim 41 (p. 24)
  • La presteza es madre de la dicha.
    • Readiness is the mother of luck.
    • Maxim 53 (p. 30)
  • Harto presto, si bien.
    • Do something well, and that is quickly enough.
    • Maxim 57 (p. 32)
  • Fabricáronles a muchos su grandeza sus malévolos. Más fiera es la lisonja que el odio, pues remedia éste eficazmente las tachas que aquélla disimula.
    • Many owe their greatness to their enemies. Flattery is fiercer than hatred, for hatred corrects the faults flattery had disguised.
    • Maxim 84 (p. 47)
  • Todos los que hazen del hazendado en el empleo dan indicio de que no lo merecían.
    • Those who want to look like hard workers give the impression that they aren't up to their jobs.
    • Maxim 106 (p. 59)
  • La galantería y la honra tienen esta ventaja, que se quedan: aquélla en quien la usa, ésta en quien la haze.
    • Politeness and a sense of honor have this advantage: we bestow them on others without losing a thing.
    • Maxim 118: (p. 66)
  • La quexa siempre trae descrédito. Más sirve de exemplar de atrevimiento a la passión que de consuelo a la compassión. Abre el passo a quien la oye para lo mismo, y es la noticia del agravio del primero disculpa del segundo. Dan pie algunos con sus quexas de las ofensiones passadas a las venideras.
    • Complaints will always discredit you. Rather than compassion and consolation, they provoke passion and insolence, and encourage those who hear our complaints to behave like those we complain about. Once divulged to others, the offenses done to us seem to make others pardonable. Some complain of past offenses and give rise to future ones.
    • Maxim 129 (p. 72)
  • Quanto que el no creer es indicio del mentir; porque el mentiroso tiene dos males, que ni cree ni es creído.
    • Not believing others implies that you yourself are deceitful. The liar suffers twice: he neither believes nor is believed.
    • Maxim 154 (p. 87)
  • Más vale ser engañado en el precio que en la mercadería.
    • Better to be cheated by the price than by the merchandise.
    • Maxim 157 (p. 89)
  • Saberlos conservar es más que el hazerlos amigos.
    • Knowing how to keep a friend is more important than gaining a new one.
    • Maxim 158 (p. 90)
  • El que no se hallare con ánimo de sufrir apele al retiro de sí mismo, si es que aun a sí mismo se ha de poder tolerar.
    • The person who does not know how to put up with others should retire into himself, if indeed he can suffer even himself.
    • Maxim 159 (p. 90)
  • Como los ignorantes no se conocen, tampoco buscan lo que les falta. Serían sabios algunos si no creyessen que lo son.
    • Because the ignorant do not know themselves, they never know for what they are lacking. Some would be sages if they did not believe they were so already.
    • Maxim 176 (p. 100)
  • Unos mueren porque sienten y otros viven porque no sienten. Y assí, unos son necios porque no mueren de sentimiento, y otros lo son porque mueren de él.
    • Some die because they feel everything, others because they feel nothing. Some are fools because they suffer no regrets, and others because they do.
    • Maxim 208 (p. 118)
  • Confiar de los amigos hoy como enemigos mañana.
    • Trust the friends of today as though they will be the enemies of tomorrow.
    • Maxim 217 (p. 123)
  • Cásanse algunos con la primera información, de suerte que las demás son concubinas, y como se adelanta siempre la mentira, no queda lugar después para la verdad.
    • Some marry the first information they receive, and turn what comes later into their concubine. Since deceit is always first to arrive, there is no room left for truth.
    • Maxim 227 (p. 128)
  • No es favor del Príncipe, sino pecho, el comunicarlo. Quiebran muchos el espejo porque les acuerda la fealdad. No puede ver al que le pudo ver.
    • To hear a prince's secrets is not a privilege but a burden. Many smash the mirror that reminds them of their ugliness. They cannot stand to see those who saw them.
    • Maxim 237 (p. 134)
  • Más vale el buen ocio que el negocio.
    • The right kind of leisure is better than the wrong kind of work.
      • Maxim 247
  • Otros todos son ajenos, que la necedad siempre va por demasías, y aquí infeliz: no tienen día, ni aun hora suya, con tal exceso de ajenos, que alguno fue llamado “el de todos”. Aun en el entendimiento, que para todos saben y para sí ignoran.
    • Some people belong entirely to others … They have not a day, not an hour to call their own, so completely do they give themselves to others. This is true even in matters of understanding. Some people know everything for others and nothing for themselves.
      • Maxim 252
  • Many pleasant things are better when they belong to someone else. … When things belong to others, we enjoy them twice as much, without the risk of losing them, and with the pleasure of novelty.
    • Maxim 263
  • Adelántase más la imaginación que la vista, y el engaño, que entra de ordinario por el oído, viene a salir por los ojos.
    • Imagination travels faster than sight. Deceit comes in through the ears, but usually leaves through the eyes.
    • Maxim 282 (p. 159)
  • Más preciosa es la libertad que la dádiva, porque se pierde.
    • Freedom is more precious than the gift that makes us lose it.
      • Maxim 286
  • No vaya por generalidades en el vivir, si ya no fuere en favor de la virtud, ni intime leyes precisas al querer, que avrá de bever mañana del agua que desprecia hoi.
    • Don't live by generalities, unless it be to act virtuously, and don't ask desire to follow precise laws, for you will have to drink tomorrow from the water you scorn today.
    • Maxim 288 (p. 162)
  • Única regla de agradar: coger el apetito picado con el hambre con que quedó.
    • The one rule for pleasing: whet the appetite, keep people hungry.
    • Maxim 299 (p. 168)
  • La virtud es cosa de veras, todo lo demás de burlas. La capacidad y grandeza se ha de medir por la virtud, no por la fortuna. Ella sola se basta a sí misma. Vivo el hombre, le haze amable; y muerto, memorable.
    • Virtue alone is for real; all else is sham. Talent and greatness depend on virtue, not on fortune. Only virtue is sufficient unto herself. She makes us love the living and remember the dead.
    • Maxim 300 (p. 168)

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Last modified on 9 April 2014, at 11:03