Many have had their greatness made for them by their enemies.
Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.
Begin with another's to end with your own.
To equal a predecessor, one must have twice they worth.
Fortune pays you sometimes for the intensity of her favors by the shortness of their duration. She soon tires of carrying any one long on her shoulders.
A bad manner spoils everything, even reason and justice; a good one supplies everything, gilds a No, sweetens a truth, and adds a touch of beauty to old age itself.
To be at ease is better than to be at business. Nothing really belongs to us but time, which even he has who has nothing else.
I strive to be brief, and I become obscure.
Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.
Hope has a good memory, gratitude a bad one.
Quit while you're ahead. All the best gamblers do.
Hope is a great falsifier. Let good judgment keep her in check.
A man of honour should never forget what he is because he sees what others are.
There is none who cannot teach somebody something, and there is none so excellent but he is excelled.
He that has satisfied his thirst turns his back on the well.
Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one.
To oblige persons often costs little and helps much.
The wise does at once what the fool does at last.
Even knowledge has to be in the fashion, and where it is not, it is wise to affect ignorance.
Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.
A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.
The things we remember best are those better forgotten.
Advice is sometimes transmitted more successfully through a joke than grave teaching.
Luck can be assisted. It is not all chance with the wise.
Never contend with a man who has nothing to lose.
It is good to vary in order that you may frustrate the curious, especially those who envy you.
It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards.
Let him that hath no power of patience retire within himself, though even there he will have to put up with himself.
Great ability develops and reveals itself increasingly with every new assignment.
There is always time to add a word, never to withdraw one.
Don't take the wrong side of an argument just because your opponent has taken the right side.
Work is the price which is paid for reputation.
He that communicates his secret to another makes himself that other's slave.
It is a great piece of skill to know how to guide your luck even while waiting for it.
Let the first impulse pass, wait for the second.
Those who insist on the dignity of their office show they have not deserved it.
Never do anything when you are in a temper, for you will do everything wrong.
Don't show off every day, or you'll stop surprising people. There must always be some novelty left over. The person who displays a little more of it each day keeps up expectations, and no one ever discovers the limits of his talent.
At twenty a man is a peacock, at thirty a lion, at forty a camel, at fifty a serpent, at sixty a dog, at seventy an ape, at eighty a nothing at all.
Nature scarcely ever gives us the very best; for that we must have recourse to art.
One must pass through the circumference of time before arriving at the center of opportunity.
It is better to have too much courtesy than too little, provided you are not equally courteous to all, for that would be injustice.
Never have a companion that casts you in the shade.
A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.
A beautiful woman should break her mirror early.
Friendship multiplies the good of life and divides the evil.
Always leave something to wish for; otherwise you will be miserable from your very happiness.
He that can live alone resembles the brute beast in nothing, the sage in much, and God in everything.
Fortunate people often have very favorable beginnings and very tragic endings. What matters isn't being applauded when you arrive - for that is common - but being missed when you leave.
Better mad with the rest of the world than wise alone.
Baltasar Gracián y Morales, SJ, formerly Anglicized as Baltazar Gracian, was a Spanish Jesuit and baroque prose writer and philosopher. He was born in Belmonte, near Calatayud. His writings were lauded by Schopenhauer and Nietzsche...