Johann Kaspar Lavater
To err is human, but when the eraser wears out ahead of the pencil, you're overdoing it.Josh Jenkins
Aphorisms on Man (c. 1788)
- Who in the same given time can produce more than others has vigor; who can produce more and better, has talents; who can produce what none else can, has genius.
- No. 23
- You may tell a man thou art a fiend, but not your nose wants blowing; to him alone who can bear a thing of that kind, you may tell all.
- No. 84
- Say not you know another entirely, till you have divided an inheritance with him.
- No. 157
- Have you ever seen a pedant with a warm heart?
- No. 260
- If you see one cold and vehement at the same time, set him down for a fanatic.
- No. 282
- He who, when called upon to speak a disagreeable truth, tells it boldly and has done is both bolder and milder than he who nibbles in a low voice and never ceases nibbling.
- No. 302
- Him, who incessantly laughs in the street, you may commonly hear grumbling in his closet.
- No. 305
- Let none turn over books, or roam the stars in quest of God, who sees him not in man.
- No. 398
- Trust not him with your secrets, who, when left alone in your room, turns over your papers.
- No. 449
- Neatness begets order; but from order to taste there is the same difference as from taste to genius, or from love to friendship.
- No. 583
- The public seldom forgive twice.
- No. 595
- Venerate four characters: the sanguine who has checked volatility and the rage for pleasure; the choleric who has subdued passion and pride; the phlegmatic emerged from indolence; and the melancholy who has dismissed avarice, suspicion and asperity.
- No. 609
- If you mean to know yourself, interline such of these aphorisms as affect you agreeably in reading, and set a mark to such as left a sense of uneasiness with you; and then show your copy to whom you please.
- No. 643
- Action, looks, words, steps, form the alphabet by which you may spell character.
- Conscience is the sentinel of virtue.
- Don't speak evil of someone if you don't know for certain, and if you do know ask yourself, why am I telling it?
- He submits to be seen through a microscope, who suffers himself to be caught in a fit of passion.
- He who has no taste for order, will be often wrong in his judgment, and seldom considerate or conscientious in his actions.
- He who seldom speaks, and with one calm well-timed word can strike dumb the loquacious, is a genius or a hero.
- I am prejudiced in favor of him who, without impudence, can ask boldly. He has faith in humanity, and faith in himself. No one who is not accustomed to giving grandly can ask nobly and with boldness.
- If you wish to appear agreeable in society, you must consent to be taught many things which you know already.
- Intuition is the clear conception of the whole at once.
- Mistrust the person who finds everything good, and the person who finds everything evil, and mistrust even more the person who is indifferent to everything.
- Stubborness is the strength of the weak.
- The craftiest trickery are too short and ragged a cloak to cover a bad heart.
- The great rule of moral conduct is next to God, respect time.
- The jealous are possessed by a mad devil and a dull spirit at the same time.
- The prudent see only the difficulties, the bold only the advantages, of a great enterprise; the hero sees both; diminishes the former and makes the latter preponderate, and so conquers.
- There are three classes of men; the retrograde, the stationary and the progressive.
- Too much gravity argues a shallow mind.
- Who makes quick use of the moment is a genius of prudence.
- You are not very good if you are not better than your best friends imagine you to be.