We must not mock God. Yet the best of us are not so much afraid to offend Him as to offend our neighbors, kinsmen, or rulers.
~ in Essays. Bk. 1, Ch. 39
I speak truth not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little more as I grow older.”
~ in Essays, Bk. 3, Ch. 1
We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticize us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him.”
~ in Essays, Bk. 3, Ch. 13
What enriches language is its being handled and exploited by beautiful minds–not so much by making innovations as by expanding it through more vigorous and varied applications, by extending it and deploying it. It is not words that they contribute: what they do is enrich their words, deepen their meanings and tie down their usage; they teach it unaccustomed rhythms, prudently though and with ingenuity.
~ in “On Some Lines of Virgil”
No man is exempt from saying silly things; the mischief is to say them deliberately.
There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.