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In the game of life it's a good idea to have a few early losses, which relieves you of the pressure of trying to maintain an undefeated season.
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In case of dissension, never dare to judge till you've heard the other side.

Euripides (c. 480 BC- 406 BC) was a Greek playwright.


Humility, a sense of reverence before the sons of heaven — of all the prizes that a mortal man might win, these, I say, are wisest; these are best.
  • The company of just and righteous men is better than wealth and a rich estate.
    • Ægeus, Frag. 7
  • Time will explain it all. He is a talker, and needs no questioning before he speaks.
    • Æolus Frag. 38.
  • Waste not fresh tears over old griefs.
    • Alexander Frag. 44
  • Sweet is the remembrance of troubles when you are in safety.
    • Andromeda
  • Cleverness is not wisdom. And not to think mortal thoughts is to see few days.
    • Bacchæ l. 395
  • Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.
    • Bacchæ l. 480
    • Variant translation: To the fool, he who speaks wisdom will sound foolish.
  • Slow but sure moves the might of the gods.
    • Bacchæ l. 882
    • Variant translation: Slowly but surely withal moveth the might of the gods.
  • Humility, a sense of reverence before the sons of heaven — of all the prizes that a mortal man might win, these, I say, are wisest; these are best.
    • Bacchæ l. 1150
  • Events will take their course, it is no good of being angry at them; he is happiest who wisely turns them to the best account.
    • Bellerophon, Fragment 298; quoted in Plutarch's Morals : Ethical Essays (1888) edited and translated by Arthur Richard Shilleto, p. 293
  • I sacrifice to no god save myself — And to my belly, greatest of deities.
    • The Cyclops (c.424-23 B.C.)
  • I care for riches, to make gifts
    To friends, or lead a sick man back to health
    With ease and plenty. Else small aid is wealth
    For daily gladness; once a man be done
    With hunger, rich and poor are all as one.
    • Electra (413 B.C.)
  • God helps him who strives hard.
    • Eumenidoe
  • Nothing has more strength than dire necessity.
    • Helen (412 BC), as translated by Richmond Lattimore
  • In case of dissension, never dare to judge till you've heard the other side.
    • Heraclidae (c 428 BC); quoted by Aristophanes in The Wasps.
  • Leave no stone unturned.
    • Heraclidae (c 428 BC)
  • I hold that mortal foolish who strives against the stress of necessity.
    • Hercules Furens l. 281
  • O lady, nobility is thine, and thy form is the reflection of thy nature!
    • Ion (c. 421-408 BC) l. 238
  • Authority is never without hate.
    • Ion (c. 421-408 BC) as translated by Ronald F. Willetts.
  • A coward turns away, but a brave man's choice is danger.
    • Iphigenia in Tauris (c. 412 BC) l. 114
  • There is in the worst of fortune the best of chances for a happy change.
    • Iphigenia in Tauris (c. 412 BC) l. 721
  • The fountains of sacred rivers flow upwards.
    • Medea
  • It is said that gifts persuade even the gods.
    • Medea, line 964
  • A bad beginning makes a bad ending.
    • Variant: A bad ending follows a bad beginning.
    • Melanippe the Wise (fragment)
When good men die their goodness does not perish, but lives though they are gone. As for the bad, all that was theirs dies and is buried with them.
  • Cowards do not count in battle; they are there, but not in it.
    • Meleager Frag. 523
  • Every man is like the company he wont to keep.
    • Phœnix Frag. 809
  • This is slavery, not to speak one's thought.
    • Variant: Who dares not speak his free thoughts is a slave.
    • The Phoenician Women (c.411-409 B.C.)
  • Chance fights ever on the side of the prudent.
    • Variant: Fortune truly helps those who are of good judgement.
    • Pirithous
  • Where two discourse, if the one's anger rise,
    The man who lets the contest fall is wise.
    • Protesilaus Frag. 656
  • Slight not what 's near through aiming at what's far.
    • Rhesus (c. 435 BC) line 482
  • I think,
    Some shrewd man first, a man in judgment wise,
    Found for mortals the fear of gods,
    Thereby to frighten the wicked should they
    Even act or speak or scheme in secret.
  • The sweetest teaching did he introduce,
    Concealing truth under untrue speech.
    The place he spoke of as the gods' abode
    Was that by which he might awe humans most, —
    The place from which, he knew, terrors came to mortals
    And things advantageous in their wearisome life —
    The revolving heaven above, in which dwell
    The lightnings, and awesome claps
    Of thunder, and the starry face of heaven,
    Beautiful and intricate by that wise craftsman Time, —
    From which, too, the meteor's glowing mass speeds
    And wet thunderstorm pours forth upon the earth.
    • Sisyphus as translated by R. G. Bury, and revised by J. Garrett
  • I begin by taking. I shall find scholars later to demonstrate my perfect right.
    • Suppliants
  • There is nothing more hostile to a city that a tyrant, under whom in the first and chiefest place, there are not laws in common, but one man, keeping the law himself to himself, has the sway, and this is no longer equal.
    • Suppliants
  • When good men die their goodness does not perish,
    But lives though they are gone.
    As for the bad,
    All that was theirs dies and is buried with them.
    • Temenidæ Frag. 734

Alcestis (438 B.C.)

  • Never say that marriage has more of joy than pain.
    • l. 238
  • A second wife is hateful to the children of the first; A viper is not more hateful.
    • l. 309
  • Oh, if I had Orpheus' voice and poetry
    with which to move the Dark Maid and her Lord,
    I'd call you back, dear love, from the world below.

    I'd go down there for you. Charon or the grim
    King's dog could not prevent me then
    from carrying you up into the fields of light.
    • l. 358
  • Light be the earth upon you, lightly rest.
    • l. 462
  • Old men's prayers for death are lying prayers, in which they abuse old age and long extent of life. But when death draws near, not one is willing to die, and age no longer is a burden to them.
    • l. 669.
  • Dishonour will not trouble me, once I am dead.
    • l. 726
  • Today's today. Tomorrow we may be
    ourselves gone down the drain of Eternity.
    • l. 788
  • I have found power in the mysteries of thought,
    exaltation in the changing of the Muses;
    I have been versed in the reasonings of men;
    but Fate is stronger than anything I have known.
    • l. 962
  • Time cancels young pain.
    • l. 1085

Hippolytus (428 B.C.)

There is one thing alone that stands the brunt of life throughout its course: a quiet conscience.
  • There is one thing alone that stands the brunt of life throughout its course: a quiet conscience.
    • l. 435
  • Try first thyself, and after call in God; For to the worker God himself lend aid.
    • Frag. 435
  • In this world second thoughts, it seems, are best.
    • l. 435, as translated by David Grene
    • Variant translations: Among mortals second thoughts are the wisest.
      Second thoughts are ever wiser.
      Among mortals second thoughts are wisest.
  • 'Twas but my tongue, 'twas not my soul that swore.
    • l. 612, as translated by Gilbert Murray (1954).
    • Variant: My tongue swore, but my mind was still unpledged.
    • As translated by David Grene
  • Along with success comes a reputation for wisdom.

Orestes (408 BC)

The Remorse of Orestes by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
  • When one with honeyed words but evil mind
    Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.
    • l. 907
  • Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.
    • As translated by William Arrowsmith
  • The man who melts with social sympathy, though not allied, is more worth than a thousand kinsmen.
  • The variety of all things forms a pleasure.


Events will take their course, it is no good of being angry at them; he is happiest who wisely turns them to the best account.
  • Danger gleams like sunshine to a brave man's eyes.
  • Do not consider painful what is good for you.
  • Do not plan for ventures before finishing what's at hand.
  • Down on your knees, and thank heaven, fasting, for a good man's love.
  • Forgive, son; men are men; they needs must err.
  • Friends show their love in times of trouble.
  • Happiness is brief. It will not stay. God batters at its sails.
  • He is not a lover who does not love forever.
  • He is wise that is wise to himself.
  • Human misery must somewhere have a stop; there is no wind that always blows a storm.
  • I hate it in friends when they come too late to help.
  • I love the old way best, the simple way of poison, where we too are strong as men.
  • I would prefer as friend a good man ignorant than one more clever who is evil too.
  • If the gods do evil then they are not gods.
  • Ignorance of one's misfortunes is clear gain.
  • Impudence is the worst of all human diseases.
  • In misfortune, which friend remains a friend?
  • In this world second thoughts, it seems, are best.
  • It destroys one's nerves to be amiable every day to the same human being.
  • It is a good thing to be rich and a good thing to be strong, but it is a better thing to be loved by many friends.
  • It's not beauty but fine qualities, my girl, that keep a husband.
  • Joint undertakings stand a better chance when they benefit both sides.
  • Judge a tree from its fruit, not from its leaves.
  • Know first who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.
  • Life has no blessing like a prudent friend.
  • Love must not touch the marrow of the soul. Our affections must be breakable chains that we can cast them off or tighten them.
  • Luckier than one's neighbour, but still not happy.
  • Man's best possession is a sympathetic wife.
  • Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe.
  • Money is far more persuasive than logical arguments.
  • Much effort, much prosperity.
  • Never that which is shall die.
  • New faces have more authority than accustomed ones.
  • No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow.
  • No one is happy all his life long.
  • No one is truly free, they are a slave to wealth, fortune, the law, or other people restraining them from acting according to their will.
  • No one who lives in error is free.
  • Often a noble face hides filthy ways.
  • One does nothing who tries to console a despondent person with word. A friend is one who aids with deeds at a critical time when deeds are called for.
  • One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.
  • Only a madman would give good for evil.
  • Punishment is not for revenge, but to lessen crime and reform the criminal.
  • Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.
  • Real friendship is shown in times of trouble; prosperity is full of friends.
  • Short is the joy that guilty pleasure brings.
  • Silence is true wisdom's best reply.
  • Silver and gold are not the only coin; virtue too passes current all over the world.
  • Slight not what's near, when aiming at what's far.
    • Variant: Slight not what's near through aiming at what's far.
  • Song brings of itself a cheerfulness that wakes the heart of joy.
  • Ten soldiers wisely led will beat a hundred without a head.
  • The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.
  • The best of seers is he who guesses well.
  • The best prophet is common sense, our native wit.
  • The bold are helpless without cleverness.
  • The company of just and righteous men is better than wealth and a rich estate.
  • The day is for honest men, the night for thieves.
  • The gods visit the sins of the fathers upon the children.
  • The good and the wise lead quiet lives.
  • The greatest pleasure of life is love.
  • The language of truth is simple.
  • The lucky person passes for a genius.
  • The wavering mind is but a base possession.
  • The wisest men follow their own direction.
  • There is in the worst of fortune the best of chances for a happy change.
  • There is just one life for each of us: our own.
  • There is no benefit in the gifts of a bad man.
  • There is the sky, which is all men's together.
  • This is courage in a man: to bear unflinchingly what heaven sends.
  • Time will explain it all. He is a talker, and needs no questioning before he speaks.
  • To a father waxing old, nothing is dearer than a daughter.
  • To generous souls, every task is noble.
  • To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man.
  • Unhappiness remembering happiness.
  • Vengeance comes not slowly either upon you or any other wicked man, but steals silently and imperceptibly, placing its foot on the bad.
  • Waste not fresh tears over old griefs.
  • We know the good, we apprehend it clearly, but we can't bring it to achievement.
  • Wealth stays with us a little moment if at all: only our characters are steadfast, not our gold.
  • What anger worse or slower to abate than lovers love when it turns to hate.
  • What greater grief than the loss of one's native land.
  • When a man's stomach is full it makes no difference whether he is rich or poor.
  • Whoso neglects learning in his youth, loses the past and is dead for the future.
  • Woman is woman's natural ally.
  • You were a stranger to sorrow: therefore Fate has cursed you.
  • Your very silence shows you agree.
  • Youth is the best time to be rich, and the best time to be poor.
  • Zeus hates busybodies and those who do too much.


  • Account no man happy till he dies.
    • Sophocles in Oedipus Rex
    • Variant in Herodotus 1.32: Count no man happy until he is dead.
  • Circumstances rule men and not men circumstances.
    • Herodotus, Book 7, Ch. 49; Misattributed to Euripedes in "The Imperial Four" by Professor Creasy in Bentley's Miscellany Vol. 33 (January 1853), p. 22
    • Variant translation: Circumstances rule men; men do not rule circumstances.
  • Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.
    • Anonymous ancient proverb, wrongly attributed to Euripides. The version here is quoted as a "heathen proverb" in Daniel, a Model for Young Men (1854) by William Anderson Scott. The origin of the misattribution to Euripides is unknown. Several variants are quoted in ancient texts, as follows.
    • Variants and derived paraphrases:
      • For cunningly of old
        was the celebrated saying revealed:
        evil sometimes seems good
        to a man whose mind
        a god leads to destruction.
        • Sophocles, Antigone 620-3, a play pre-dating any of Euripides' surviving plays. An ancient commentary explains the passage as a paraphrase of the following, from another, earlier poet.
      • When a god plans harm against a man,
        he first damages the mind of the man he is plotting against.
        • Quoted in the scholia vetera to Sophocles' Antigone 620ff., without attribution. The meter (iambic trimeter) suggests that the source of the quotation is a tragic play.
      • For whenever the anger of divine spirits harms someone,
        it first does this: it steals away his mind
        and good sense, and turns his thought to foolishness,

        so that he should know nothing of his mistakes.
        • Attributed to "some of the old poets" by Lycurgus of Athens in his Oratio In Leocratem [Oration Against Leocrates], section 92. Again, the meter suggests that the source is a tragic play. These lines are misattributed to the much earlier semi-mythical statesman Lycurgus of Sparta in a footnote of recent editions of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and other works.
      • The gods do nothing until they have blinded the minds of the wicked.
        • Variant in ''Dictionary of Quotations (Classical) (1906), compiled by Thomas Benfield Harbottle, p. 433.
      • Whom Fortune wishes to destroy she first makes mad.
      • The devil when he purports any evil against man, first perverts his mind.
      • quem Iuppiter vult perdere, dementat prius.
        • "Whom Jupiter wishes to destroy, he first sends mad"; neo-Latin version. "A maxim of obscure origin which may have been invented in Cambridge about 1640" -- Taylor, The Proverb (1931). Probably a variant of the line "He whom the gods love dies young", derived from Menander's play The Double Deceiver via Plautus (Bacchides 816-7).
      • quem (or quos) Deus perdere vult, dementat prius.
        • "Whom God wishes to destroy, he first sends mad." -- A Christianised version of the above.
      • Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.
      • Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.
        • As quoted in George Fox Interpreted: The Religion, Revelations, Motives and Mission of George Fox (1881) by Thomas Ellwood Longshore, p. 154
      • Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad.
    • Modern derivatives:
      The proverb's meaning is changed in many English versions from the 20th and 21st centuries that start with the proverb's first half (through "they") and then end with a phrase that replaces "first make mad" or "make mad." Such versions can be found at Internet search engines by using either of the two keyword phrases that are on Page 2 and Page 4 of the webpage "Pick any Wrong Card." The rest of that webpage is frameworks that induce a reader to compose new variations on this proverb.

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