Black and white image of French classical author La Rochefoucauld.

La Rochefoucauld

(1613 - 1680)

Born into a noble family in Paris, La Rochefoucauld served in the army in 1629, fighting in campaigns in Italy, France, and the Netherlands. He sustained various wounds, retiring from service in 1652 after he was shot in the face with a musket. Memoirs, his account of his military adventures and life at the court of Louis XIV, was published in 1662. Three years later he published his collection of five-hundred-odd aphorisms.

All Writing

Everyone complains about his memory, and no one complains about his judgment.

—La Rochefoucauld, 1666

One is never as unhappy as one thinks, nor as happy as one hopes.

—La Rochefoucauld, 1664

Wit enables us to act rudely with impunity.

—La Rochefoucauld, 1678

Quarrels would not last long if the fault was only on one side.

—La Rochefoucauld, 1665

To safeguard one’s health at the cost of too strict a diet is a tiresome illness indeed.

—La Rochefoucauld, 1678

Men have written in the most convincing manner to prove that death is no evil, and this opinion has been confirmed on a thousand celebrated occasions by the weakest of men as well as by heroes. Even so I doubt whether any sensible person has ever believed it, and the trouble men take to convince others as well as themselves that they do shows clearly that it is no easy undertaking. 

—La Rochefoucauld, 1665

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