Desiderius Erasmus quotes:

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  • Nature, more of a stepmother than a mother in several ways, has sown a seed of evil in the hearts of mortals, especially in the more thoughtful men, which makes them dissatisfied with their own lot and envious of another's.

  • The nearer people approach old age the closer they return to a semblance of childhood, until the time comes for them to depart this life, again like children, neither tired of living nor aware of death.

  • Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.

  • There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

  • Reflection is a flower of the mind, giving out wholesome fragrance; but revelry is the same flower, when rank and running to seed.

  • In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

  • Ask a wise man to dinner and he'll upset everyone by his gloomy silence or tiresome questions. Invite him to a dance and you'll have a camel prancing about. Haul him off to a public entertainment and his face will be enough to spoil the people's entertainment.

  • When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.

  • In the country of the blind the one eyed man is king.

  • Fortune favors the audacious.

  • War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it.

  • I doubt if a single individual could be found from the whole of mankind free from some form of insanity. The only difference is one of degree. A man who sees a gourd and takes it for his wife is called insane because this happens to very few people.

  • It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is.

  • Everyone knows that by far the happiest and universally enjoyable age of man is the first. What is there about babies which makes us hug and kiss and fondle them, so that even an enemy would give them help at that age?

  • Great eagerness in the pursuit of wealth, pleasure, or honor, cannot exist without sin.

  • Don't give your advice before you are called upon.

  • By burning Luther's books you may rid your bookshelves of him, but you will not rid men's minds of him.

  • A good portion of speaking will consist in knowing how to lie.

  • Whether a party can have much success without a woman present I must ask others to decide, but one thing is certain, no party is any fun unless seasoned with folly.

  • If you keep thinking about what you want to do or what you hope will happen, you don't do it, and it won't happen.

  • No Man is wise at all Times, or is without his blind Side.

  • Great abundance of riches cannot be gathered and kept by any man without sin.

  • It is wisdom in prosperity, when all is as thou wouldn't have it, to fear and suspect the worst.

  • I consider as lovers of books not those who keep their books hidden in their store-chests and never handle them, but those who, by nightly as well as daily use thumb them, batter them, wear them out, who fill out all the margins with annotations of many kinds, and who prefer the marks of a fault they have erased to a neat copy full of faults.

  • The most disadvantageous peace is better than the most just war.

  • So our student will flit like a busy bee through the entire garden of literature, light on every blossom, collect a little nectar from each, and carry it to his hive...

  • What is popularly called fame is nothing but an empty name and a legacy from paganism.

  • The desire to write grows with writing.

  • War is sweet to those who have not experienced it.

  • Almost all Christians being wretchedly enslaved to blindness and ignorance, which the priests are so far from preventing or removing, that they blacken the darkness, and promote the delusion: wisely foreseeing that the people (like cows, which never give down their milk so well as when they are gently stroked), would part with less if they knew more...

  • By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.

  • What difference is there, do you think, between those in Plato's cave who can only marvel at the shadows and images of various objects, provided they are content and don't know what they miss, and the philosopher who has emerged from the cave and sees the real things?

  • They take unbelievable pleasure in the hideous blast of the hunting horn and baying of the hounds. Dogs dung smells sweet as cinnamon to them.

  • [Only by] the good influence of our conduct may we bring salvation in human affairs; or like a fatal comet we may bring destruction in our train.

  • Luther was guilty of two great crimes - he struck the Pope in his crown, and the monks in their belly.

  • Prevention is better than cure.

  • Man's mind is so formed that it is far more susceptible to falsehood than to truth.

  • Now I believe I can hear the philosophers protesting that it can only be misery to live in folly, illusion, deception and ignorance, but it isn't -it's human.

  • A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit.

  • Nature, more of a stepmother than a mother in several ways, has sown a seed of evil in the hearts of mortals, especially in the more thoughtful men, which makes them dissatisfied with their own lot and envious of another s.

  • Frugality is a handsome income.

  • Jupiter, not wanting man's life to be wholly gloomy and grim, has bestowed far more passion than reason --you could reckon the ration as twenty-four to one. Moreover, he confined reason to a cramped corner of the head and left all the rest of the body to the passions.

  • Amongst the learned the lawyers claim first place, the most self-satisfied class of people, as they roll their rock of Sisyphus and string together six hundred laws in the same breath, no matter whether relevant or not, piling up opinion on opinion and gloss on gloss to make their profession seem the most difficult of all. Anything which causes trouble has special merit in their eyes.

  • They may attack me with an army of six hundred syllogisms; and if I do not recant, they will proclaim me a heretic.

  • To know nothing is the happiest life.

  • [N]o party is any fun unless seasoned with folly.

  • Anything which causes trouble has special merit in their eyes.

  • Nothing is as peevish and pedantic as men's judgments of one another.

  • The majority of the common people loathe war and pray for peace; only a handful of individuals, whose evil joys depend on general misery, desire war.

  • Everybody hates a prodigy, detests an old head on young shoulders.

  • Nowadays the rage for possession has got to such a pitch that there is nothing in the realm of nature, whether sacred or profane, out of which profit cannot be squeezed.

  • You'll see certain Pythagorean whose belief in communism of property goes to such lengths that they pick up anything lying about unguarded, and make off with it without a qualm of conscience as if it had come to them by law.

  • No one respects a talent that is concealed.

  • Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself

  • When I get a little money I buy books and if any is left I buy food and clothes

  • It is an unscrupulous intellect that does not pay to antiquity its due reverence.

  • In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

  • Women, can't live with them, can't live without them.

  • He who allows oppression shares the crime.

  • The summit of happiness is reached when a person is ready to be what he is.

  • Human affairs are so obscure and various that nothing can be clearly known. This was the sound conclusion of the Academic sceptics, who were the least surly of philosophers.

  • A good prince will tax as lightly as possible those commodities which are used by the poorest members of society: grain, bread, beer, wine, clothing, and all other staples without which human life could not exist.

  • It's the generally accepted privilege of theologians to stretch the heavens, that is the Scriptures, like tanners with a hide.

  • The more ignorant, reckless and thoughtless a doctor is, the higher his reputation soars even amongst powerful princes.

  • Christians would show sense if they dispatched these argumentative Scotists and pigheaded Ockhamists and undefeated Albertists along with the whole regiment of Sophists to fight the Turks and Saracens instead of sending those armies of dull-witted soldiers with whom they've long been carrying on war with no result.

  • This type of man who is devoted to the study of wisdom is always most unlucky in everything, and particularly when it comes to procreating children; I imagine this is because Nature wants to ensure that the evils of wisdom shall not spread further throughout mankind.

  • The entire world is my temple, and a very fine one too, if I'm not mistaken, and I'll never lack priests to serve it as long as there are men.

  • Human affairs are so obscure and various that nothing can be clearly known.

  • Read first the best books. The important thing for you is not how much you know, but the quality of what you know.

  • Picture the prince, such as most of them are today: a man ignorant of the law, well-nigh an enemy to his people's advantage, while intent on his personal convenience, a dedicated voluptuary, a hater of learning, freedom and truth, without a thought for the interests of his country, and measuring everything in terms of his own profit and desires.

  • War is sweet to those who haven't tasted it. Dulce bellum inexpertis.

  • I am a citizen of the world, known to all and to all a stranger.

  • There is no joy in possession without sharing.

  • Your library is your paradise.

  • It seems to me to be the best proof of an evangelical disposition, that persons are not angry when reproached, and have a Christian charity for those that ill deserve it.

  • Nothing is so foolish, they say, as for a man to stand for office and woo the crowd to win its vote, buy its support with presents, court the applause of all those fools and feel self-satisfied when they cry their approval, and then in his hour of triumph to be carried round like an effigy for the public to stare at, and end up cast in bronze to stand in the market place.

  • At last concluded that no creature was more miserable than man, for that all other creatures are content with those bounds that nature set them, only man endeavors to exceed them.

  • The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth

  • Fools are without number.

  • Do not be guilty of possessing a library of learned books while lacking learning yourself.

  • Apothegms are in history, the same as pearls in the sand, or gold in the mine.

  • The chief element of happiness is this: to want to be what you are.

  • Wherever you encounter truth, look upon it as Christianity.

  • I put up with this church, in the hope that one day it will become better, just as it is constrained to put up with me in the hope that I will become better.

  • I have turned my entire attention to Greek. The first thing I shall do, as soon as the money arrives, is to buy some Greek authors; after that, I shall buy clothes.

  • Be careful not to be the first to put your hands in the dish. What you cannot hold in your hands you must put on your plate. Also it is a great breach of etiquette when your fingers are dirty and greasy, to bring them to your mouth in order to lick them, or to clean them on your jacket. It would be more decent to use the tablecloth.

  • Bidden or unbidden, God is present.

  • Providence has decreed that those common acquisitions, money, gems, plate, noble mansions, and dominion, should be sometimes bestowed on the indolent and unworthy; but those things which constitute our true riches, and which are properly our own, must be procured by our own labor.

  • There is nothing I congratulate myself on more heartily than on never having joined a sect.

  • Man is to man either a god or a wolf.

  • Out of all those centuries the Greeks can count seven sages at the most, and if anyone looks at them more closely I swear he'll not find so much as a half-wise man or even a third of a wise man among them.

  • Love that has nothing but beauty to keep it in good health is short-lived.

  • 'Tis an easier matter to raise the devil than to lay him.

  • Dulce bellum inexpertis. - War is lovely for those who know nothing about it.

  • By identifying the new learning with heresy, you make orthodoxy synonymous with ignorance.

  • Scarcely is there any peace so unjust that it is better than even the fairest war. -Vix ulla tam iniqua pax, quin bello vel aequissimo sit potior

  • Modern church music is so constructed that the congregation cannot hear one distinct word.

  • What passes out of one's mouth passes into a hundred ears. It is a great misfortune not to have sense enough to speak well.

  • It is a greater advantage to be honestly educated than honorably born.

  • The highest form of bliss is living with a certain degree of folly

  • God has administered to us of the present age, a bitter draught and a harsh physician, on account of our abounding infirmities.

  • It hardly needs explaining at length, I think, how much authority or beauty is added to style by the timely use of proverbs. In the first place who does not see what dignity they confer on style by their antiquity alone?... And so to interweave adages deftly and appropriately is to make the language as a whole glitter with sparkles from Antiquity, please us with the colours of the art of rhetoric, gleam with jewel-like words of wisdom, and charm us with titbits of wit and humour.

  • Heaven grant that the burden you carry may have as easy an exit as it had an entrance. Prayer To A Pregnant Woman

  • The Jewish usurers are fast-rooted even in the smallest villages, and if they lend five gulden they require a security of six times as much. They charge interest, upon interest, and upon this again interest, so that the poor man loses everything that he owns.

  • For them it's out-of-date and outmoded to perform miracles; teaching the people is too like hard work, interpreting the holy scriptures is for schoolmen and praying is a waste of time; to shed tears is weak and womanish, to be needy is degrading; to suffer defeat is a disgrace and hardly fitting for one who scarcely permits the greatest of kings to kiss the toes of his sacred feet; and finally, death is an unattractive prospect, and dying on a cross would be an ignominious end.

  • He who shuns the millstone, shuns the meal.

  • Of two evils choose the least.

  • Our determination to imitiate Christ should be such that we have no time for other matters.

  • He who doesn't sin, is the greatest sinner of all.

  • Besides, it happens (how, I cannot tell) that an idea launched like a javelin in proverbial form strikes with sharper point on the hearerÔ??s mind and leaves implanted barbs for meditation...

  • ...it is a sneaking piece of cowardice for authors to put feigned names to their works, as if, like bastards of their brain, they were afraid to own them.

  • Fortune favours the audacious.

  • You must acquire the best knowledge first, and without delay; it is the height of madness to learn what you will later have to unlearn.

  • The opinion formulated by the Church has more value in my eyes than human reasons, whatever they may be.

  • Do not put chewed bones back on plates. Instead, throw them on the floor for the dog.

  • In short, no association or alliance can be happy or stable without me. People can't long tolerate a ruler, nor can a master his servant, a maid her mistress, a teacher his pupil, a friend his friend nor a wife her husband, a landlord his tenant, a soldier his comrade nor a party-goer his companion, unless they sometimes have illusions about each other, make use of flattery, and have the sense to turn a blind eye and sweeten life for themselves with the honey of folly.

  • Young bodies are like tender plants, which grow and become hardened to whatever shape you've trained them.

  • Before you sleep, read something that is exquisite, and worth remembering.

  • If you look at history you'll find that no state has been so plagued by its rulers as when power has fallen into the hands of some dabbler in philosophy or literary addict.

  • As an example of just how useless these philosophers are for any practice in life there is Socrates himself, the one and only wise man, according to the Delphic Oracle. Whenever he tried to do anything in public he had to break off amid general laughter. While he was philosophizing about clouds and ideas, measuring a flea's foot and marveling at a midge's humming, he learned nothing about the affairs of ordinary life.

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