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Keep to yourself any intelligence that may prove unpleasant, till some person else has disclosed it:—Bring, O nightingale! the glad tidings of the spring, and leave to the owl to be the harbinger of evil.
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Whoever is counselling a self-sufficient man stands himself in need of a counsellor.
Swallow not the wheedling of a rival, nor pay for the sycophancy of a parasite; for that has laid the snare of treachery, and this whetted the palate of gluttony. The fool is puffed up with his own praise, like a dead body, which on being stretched upon a bier shows a momentary corpulency:—Take heed and listen not to the sycophant’s blandishments, who expects in return some small compensation; for shouldst thou any day disappoint his object he would in like style sum up two hundred of thy defects.
Till some person may show its defects, the speech of the orator will fail of correctness:—Be not vain of the eloquence of thy discourse because it has the fool’s good opinion, and thine own approbation.
Every person thinks his own intellect perfect, and his own child handsome:—A Mussulman and a Jew were warm in argument to such a degree that I smiled at their subject. The Mussulman said in wrath: “If this deed of conveyance be not authentic may I, O God, die a Jew!” The Jew replied: “On the Pentateuch I swear, if what I say be false, I am a Mussulman like you!” Were intellect to be annihilated from the face of the earth, nobody could be brought to say: “I am ignorant.”
Ten people will partake of the same joint of meat, and two dogs will snarl over a whole carcase. The greedy man is incontinent with a whole world set before him; the temperate man is content with his crust of bread:—A loaf of brown bread may fill an empty stomach, but the produce of the whole globe cannot satisfy a greedy eye:—My father, when the sun of his life was going down, gave me this sage advice, and it set for good, saying: “Lust is a fire; refrain from indulging it, and do not involve thyself in the flames of hell. Since thou hast not the strength of burning in those flames (as a punishment in the next world), pour in this world the water of continence upon this fire—namely, lust.”
Whoever does not do good, when he has the means of doing it, will suffer hardship when he has not the means:—None is more unlucky than the misanthrope, for on the day of adversity he has not a single friend.