Pascal's Pensées eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 370 pages of information about Pascal's Pensées.


Epigrams of Martial.—­Man loves malice, but not against one-eyed men nor the unfortunate, but against the fortunate and proud.  People are mistaken in thinking otherwise.

For lust is the source of all our actions, and humanity, etc.  We must please those who have humane and tender feelings.  That epigram about two one-eyed people is worthless,[15] for it does not console them, and only gives a point to the author’s glory.  All that is only for the sake of the author is worthless. Ambitiosa recident ornamenta.[16]


To call a king “Prince” is pleasing, because it diminishes his rank.


Certain authors, speaking of their works, say, “My book,” “My commentary,” “My history,” etc.  They resemble middle-class people who have a house of their own, and always have “My house” on their tongue.  They would do better to say, “Our book,” “Our commentary,” “Our history,” etc., because there is in them usually more of other people’s than their own.


Do you wish people to believe good of you?  Don’t speak.


Languages are ciphers, wherein letters are not changed into letters, but words into words, so that an unknown language is decipherable.


A maker of witticisms, a bad character.


There are some who speak well and write badly.  For the place and the audience warm them, and draw from their minds more than they think of without that warmth.


When we find words repeated in a discourse, and, in trying to correct them, discover that they are so appropriate that we would spoil the discourse, we must leave them alone.  This is the test; and our attempt is the work of envy, which is blind, and does not see that repetition is not in this place a fault; for there is no general rule.


To mask nature and disguise her.  No more king, pope, bishop—­but august monarch, etc.; not Paris—­the capital of the kingdom.  There are places in which we ought to call Paris, Paris, and others in which we ought to call it the capital of the kingdom.


The same meaning changes with the words which express it.  Meanings receive their dignity from words instead of giving it to them.  Examples should be sought....


Sceptic, for obstinate.


No one calls another a Cartesian[17] but he who is one himself, a pedant but a pedant, a provincial but a provincial; and I would wager it was the printer who put it on the title of Letters to a Provincial.


A carriage upset or overturned, according to the meaning To spread abroad or upset, according to the meaning. (The argument by force of M. le Maitre[18] over the friar.)


Miscellaneous.—­A form of speech, “I should have liked to apply myself to that.”

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Pascal's Pensées from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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