Miguel de Cervantes
Quotations


Mere flim-flam stories, and nothing but shams and lies.

To withdraw is not to run away, and to stay is no wise action, when there’s more reason to fear than to hope.

I have always heard, Sancho, that doing good to base fellows is like throwing water into the sea.

Tell me thy company, and I’ll tell thee what thou art.

Every man is as heaven made him, and sometimes a great deal worse.

Well, there’s a remedy for all things but death, which will be sure to lay us flat one time or other.

Death eats up all things, both the young lamb and old sheep; and I have heard our parson say, death values a prince no more than a clown; all’s fish that comes to his net; he throws at all, and sweeps stakes; he’s no mower that takes a nap at noon-day, but drives on, fair weather or foul, and cuts down the green grass as well as the ripe corn: he’s neither squeamish nor queesy-stomach’d, for he swallows without chewing, and crams down all things into his ungracious maw; and tho’ you can see no belly he has, he has a confounded dropsy, and thirsts after men’s lives, which he guggles down like mother’s milk.

’Tis the maddest trick a man can ever play in his whole life, to let his breath sneak out of his body without any more ado, and without so much as a rap o’er the pate, or a kick of the guts; to go out like the snuff of a farthing candle, and die merely of the mulligrubs, or the sullens.

I had rather munch a crust of brown bread and an onion in a corner, without any more ado or ceremony, than feed upon turkey at another man’s table, where one is fain to sit mincing and chewing his meat an hour together, drink little, be always wiping his fingers and his chops, and never dare to cough nor sneeze, though he has never so much a mind to it, nor do a many things which a body may do freely by one’s self.

There’s no taking trout with dry breeches.

Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within.

He preaches well that lives well.

The eyes those silent tongues of love.

He . . . had a face like a blessing.

If you are ambitious of climbing up to the difficult, and in a manner inaccessible, summit of the Temple of Fame, your surest way is to leave on one hand the narrow path of Poetry, and follow the narrower track of Knight-Errantry, which in a trice may raise you to an imperial throne.

He is mad past recovery, but yet he has lucid intervals.

A man must eat a peck of salt with his friend, before he knows him.

Man appoints, and God disappoints.

Thou cam’st out of thy mother’s belly without government, thou hast liv’d hitherto without government, and thou may’st be carried to thy long home without government, when it shall please the Lord. How many people in this world live without government, yet do well enough, and are well look’d upon?

It seldom happens that any felicity comes so pure as not to be tempered and allayed by some mixture of sorrow.

Does the devil possess you? You’re leaping over the hedge before you come at the stile.

You are a king by your own fireside, as much as any monarch in his throne.

There’s no sauce in the world like hunger.

Pray look better, Sir . . . those things yonder are no giants, but windmills.

My old grannum (rest her soul) was wont to say, there were but two families in the world, have-much and have-little.

There is a strange charm in the thoughts of a good legacy, or the hopes of an estate, which wondrously removes or at least alleviates the sorrow that men would otherwise feel for the death of friends.

When the severity of the law is to be softened, let pity, not bribes, be the motive.

’Tis a dainty thing to command, though ’twere but a flock of sheep.

For a man to attain to an eminent degree in learning costs him time, watching, hunger, nakedness, dizziness in the head, weakness in the stomach, and other inconveniences.

‘Tis said of love that it sometimes goes, sometimes flies; runs with one, walks gravely with another; turns a third into ice, and sets a fourth in a flame: it wounds one, another it kills: like lightning it begins and ends in the same moment: it makes that fort yield at night which it besieged but in the morning; for there is no force able to resist it.

Love and war are the same thing, and stratagems and policy are as allowable in the one as in the other.

One who has not only the four S’s, which are required in every good lover, but even the whole alphabet; as for example . . . Agreeable, Bountiful, Constant, Dutiful, Easy, Faithful, Gallant, Honorable, Ingenious, Kind, Loyal, Mild, Noble, Officious, Prudent, Quiet, Rich, Secret, True, Valiant, Wise; the X indeed, is too harsh a letter to agree with him, but he is Young and Zealous.

Miracle me no miracles.

’Tis the only comfort of the miserable to have partners in their woes.

Alas! all music jars when the soul’s out of tune.

And for the citation of so many authors, ‘tis the easiest thing in nature. Find out one of these books with an alphabetical index, and without any farther ceremony, remove it verbatim into your own . . . there are fools enough to be thus drawn into an opinion of the work; at least, such a flourishing train of attendants will give your book a fashionable air, and recommend it for sale.

Modesty, ’tis a virtue not often found among poets, for almost every one of them thinks himself the greatest in the world.

A blot in thy scutcheon to all futurity.

Delay always breeds danger; and to protract a great design is often to ruin it.

Every man is the son of his own works.

I believe there’s no proverb but what is true; they are all so many sentences and maxims drawn from experience, the universal mother of sciences.

I do not say a proverb is amiss when aptly and reasonably applied, but to be forever discharging them, right or wrong, hit or miss, renders conversation insipid and vulgar.

Hold you there, neither a strange hand nor my own, neither heavy nor light shall touch my bum.

The bow cannot always stand bent, nor can human frailty subsist without some lawful recreation.

One of the most considerable advantages the great have over their inferiors is to have servants as good as themselves.

A private sin is not so prejudicial in this world, as a public indecency.

By such innovations are languages enriched, when the words are adopted by the multitude, and naturalized by custom.

Now blessings light on him that first invented this same sleep: it covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a cloak; ’tis meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the cold, and cold for the hot. ’Tis the current coin that purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap; and the balance that sets the king and the shepherd, the fool and the wise-man even. There is only one thing . . . that I dislike in sleep; ’tis that it resembles death; there’s very little difference between a man in his first sleep, and a man in his last sleep.

’Tis ill talking of halters in the house of a man that was hanged.

Truth indeed rather alleviates than hurts, and will always bear up against falsehood, as oil does above water.

That which costs little is less valued.

Virtue is the truest nobility.

There is nothing so subject to the inconstancy of fortune as war.



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