Desiderius Erasmus Quotes

A good portion of speaking will consist in knowing how to lie.

A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit.

By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.

By burning Luther’s books you may rid your bookshelves of him, but you will not rid men’s minds of him.

Concealed talent brings no reputation.

Don’t give your advice before you are called upon.

Everybody hates a prodigy, detests an old head on young shoulders.

Everyone knows that by far the happiest and universally enjoyable age of man is the first. What is there about babies which makes us hug and kiss and fondle them, so that even an enemy would give them help at that age?

Fools are without number.

Fortune favors the audacious.

Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.

Great abundance of riches cannot be gathered and kept by any man without sin.

Great eagerness in the pursuit of wealth, pleasure, or honor, cannot exist without sin.

He who allows oppression shares the crime.

Human affairs are so obscure and various that nothing can be clearly known.

Humility is truth.

I doubt if a single individual could be found from the whole of mankind free from some form of insanity. The only difference is one of degree. A man who sees a gourd and takes it for his wife is called insane because this happens to very few people.

If you keep thinking about what you want to do or what you hope will happen, you don’t do it, and it won’t happen.

In the country of the blind the one eyed man is king.

In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

It is an unscrupulous intellect that does not pay to antiquity its due reverence.

It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is.

It is wisdom in prosperity, when all is as thou wouldn’t have it, to fear and suspect the worst.

It’s the generally accepted privilege of theologians to stretch the heavens, that is the Scriptures, like tanners with a hide.

Luther was guilty of two great crimes – he struck the Pope in his crown, and the monks in their belly.

Man is to man either a god or a wolf.

Man’s mind is so formed that it is far more susceptible to falsehood than to truth.

Nature, more of a stepmother than a mother in several ways, has sown a seed of evil in the hearts of mortals, especially in the more thoughtful men, which makes them dissatisfied with their own lot and envious of another s.

No one respects a talent that is concealed.

Nothing is as peevish and pedantic as men’s judgments of one another.

Now I believe I can hear the philosophers protesting that it can only be misery to live in folly, illusion, deception and ignorance, but it isn’t -it’s human.

Nowadays the rage for possession has got to such a pitch that there is nothing in the realm of nature, whether sacred or profane, out of which profit cannot be squeezed.

Prevention is better than cure.

Reflection is a flower of the mind, giving out wholesome fragrance; but revelry is the same flower, when rank and running to seed.

The desire to write grows with writing.

The entire world is my temple, and a very fine one too, if I’m not mistaken, and I’ll never lack priests to serve it as long as there are men.

The more ignorant, reckless and thoughtless a doctor is, the higher his reputation soars even amongst powerful princes.

The most disadvantageous peace is better than the most just war.

The nearer people approach old age the closer they return to a semblance of childhood, until the time comes for them to depart this life, again like children, neither tired of living nor aware of death.

There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

Time takes away the grief of men.

To know nothing is the happiest life.

War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it.

War is sweet to those who have not experienced it.

What difference is there, do you think, between those in Plato’s cave who can only marvel at the shadows and images of various objects, provided they are content and don’t know what they miss, and the philosopher who has emerged from the cave and sees the real things?

What is popularly called fame is nothing but an empty name and a legacy from paganism.

When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.

Whether a party can have much success without a woman present I must ask others to decide, but one thing is certain, no party is any fun unless seasoned with folly.

Women, can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

Your library is your paradise.